VARANASI/NEW DELIH: Amid a logjam in Parliament, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma has said there is a suggestion for applying 'no work, no pay' policy on MPs like it is being done with regard to bureaucrats, triggering a debate after which he went into a denial mode.
"There is a suggestion that like for the bureaucrats there is 'no work, no pay', we should implement for the MPs also," he told reporters in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh yesterday.
Sharma, the Minister for Tourism and Culture, went on to add that the government is planning this and senior ministers are in touch with the opposition to reach a consensous.
"There is a planning for it. Our government is trying and our senior ministers are in touch with the opposition. There is an effort to reach a consensus before the tough action is taken," he said.
On a visit to Varanasi, Sharma was replying to the queries of reporters as to whether the union government was mulling over any proposal of 'no work, no pay' policy for the MPs stalling Parliament as public money is going waste.
Parliament has not been functioning properly ever since the Monsoon session began on July 21 as the opposition parties have been pressing for resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in connection with Lalit Modi controversy and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over Vyapam Scam. respectively.
The comments triggered a debate, with opposition parties wanting to know if it was his view or that of the government.
Amidst this, Sharma today said, "I still want to see what I had said.... Definitely it is not my statement and I just want to see that."
He added that, "I am not the authorised person. I am not the competent person, and I am not the required person to comment on this issue. I think this will be a matter of our Speaker and our senior ministers to discuss."
"I understand that when the Member of Parliament doesn't work, it is as per the order of the Speaker. The Speaker says that the House is adjourned. So I will not call, but the whole country, the common man is behind this that the Parliament should run," Sharma said.
He said there should be no wastage of tax payer's money.
"People are watching how opposition is behaving in this manner and they are not allowing Parliament to run in a democratic manner... I would want to see if somebody raises this question over there that when a worker doesn't get a salary what should happen," the minister added. Earlier reacting to his yesterday's comments, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari wondered why the government was having "this sudden change of heart."
To hit out at the NDA government, he said BJP had vociferously opposed the same suggestion given by Congress after the then opposition party had "wiped out" an entire session of Parliament in 2010.
CPI leader D Raja asked whether this is Sharma's individual suggestion or represents the government's view.
"One should ask the Union Minister whether it is a proposal made by him or by the government itself. The minister should not make some irresponsible comment," Raja said.
Government has been making all possible efforts to end the two-week-long deadlock in Parliament with an all-party meeting scheduled for tomorrow.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had also convened an all party meeting to end the deadlock.
In Varanasi, Sharma had accused the opposition parties of playing "spoilsport" because of "lack of issues to debate" and said the government is ready to debate on any issue.
"BJP and our government want that the Parliament should function. But when someone doesn't have any issue to debate on, then the tactic is to play a 'spoilsport'," Sharma said.