A day after Rajya Sabha secretariat countered the Congress’s charge that Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had left it to the government and Opposition to resolve the stalemate over the suspension of 12 MPs from the House, the Centre accused the Grand Old Party of “casting aspersions” on the functioning of a constitutional authority.
The Congress, however, responded to the charge saying “respect has to be commanded, not demanded.” The continuing war of words between the government and the Opposition parties may well spill into the Budget Session which is slated to begin by the end of next month.
The fresh round of war of words started after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said the people and “even history is witness to the level of noise and indiscipline that the Opposition made during the sittings of the house” and asked them to not make “factually and morally incorrect statements”.
Joshi added that it was “both astonishing and saddening that the Opposition, especially senior members of the Congress party, have deviated from the well-known truth about what transpired in the recently concluded session”.
The Minister said: “It was painful when some members of the Opposition reduced the temple of democracy to a theatre of street fight. The Chairman, deeply pained, reached out to the Opposition to break the stalemate. They came back in multiple voices which were unclear and contradictory at the same time. Duplicitousness was obvious beneath some weak conciliatory overtures”.
He added, “Now, in order to somehow create the opposite narrative, senior members of the Congress party such as Jairam Ramesh, by casting aspersions on the functioning of a Constitutional authority, the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, do a disfavour not only to the truth, but to democracy itself.”
Ramesh, while responding to the allegations, said, “I hope the mention of my name in Pralhad Joshi’s statement defending an unconstitutional and illegal suspension of 12 MPs is not a prelude to my suspension for the forthcoming Budget session. This regime is capable of anything and most of all is simply not interested in any meaningful discussion on pressing national issues.”