NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence in Parliament building and absence from the House proceedings, particularly the Rajya Sabha, became a point of contention between the treasury and Opposition benches, with the latter terming him a “NRI PM”, tangentially referring to his frequent foreign trips during session.
The PM, however, was present in the Lok Sabha in the first hour when the Opposition was busy demanding resignation of his Minister of State Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti for her hate speech at a Delhi election rally, two days ago.
Leader of the Congress Malliarjurn Kharge, did not let go of the chance to underscore the PM’s second appearance in the Lower House this session, “It’s a privilege that the Prime Minister is present in the House today.”
His party spokesperson Rajiv Gowda later quipped that in the last few months, the PM has addressed four Parliaments across the globe, Bhutan, Nepal, Australia, Fiji, but not the Indian Parliament.
The PM even skipped traditions like introducing ministers to the Members in the House to his Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.“Ever since he has been elected, the PM has put in two flitting appearances in the Rajya Sabha.” He attended a BJP MPs’ meet in Parliament, but did not come to the House.
The PM, however, is expected to be present in the Upper House on Thursday as it is his question day, government sources said as a retort to CPM MP Sitaram Yechury’s comment, “Forget bringing back black money from abroad. Please bring back our PM first.”
Angry with his little jibe, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu later told the media: “When it’s needed for the PM to attend the House, he will...he came to Parliament today. The PM has his responsibilities, he is doing his work.”
He went on to add that if needed “the PM will speak, when it’s his turn during the Question Hour, he will be there.
The PM is doing his job, the people are happy, only the Opposition is unhappy, what can we do?”
This also came as a retaliation to Trinamool Congress member Derek O’Brien’s sneer, “Please grant a visa to the Prime Minister of India to come to the Rajya Sabha.”