NEW DELHI: Citing how half of the winter session in the Rajya Sabha was lost to disruptions, leading to wasteful expenditure of `9.9 crore, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien on Wednesday virtually held the Congress responsible for the logjam in the Upper House.
“Congress cannot simply say that ‘this is what the BJP did’ to justify the disruptions. It is after all the party of Gandhi and Nehru, it has some responsibilities and traditions to uphold,” Kurien said, as he reiterated the old adage ‘the Opposition must have its say and the government its way’.
Kurien strongly argued against questions being raised on the role, functions and status of the Rajya Sabha — whether it should have the right to hold up legislative agenda of the government or bills that the House of the People has passed. There is a privilege motion against BJD MP Jay Panda for questioning the locus standi of the Rajya Sabha. Kurien argued that the “makers of the Constitution must have factored this in… the Rajya Sabha is House of the State representing their interests in a semi-federal structure that we have.”
Recounting how as Congress whip in the Lok Sabha between 1989 and ’91, with late Rajiv Gandhi as Leader of Opposition, he, at times, helped the ruling dispensation pass bills by staging walk-outs, he said, “Coming to the well was a rarity in those days.”
He subtly criticised NDA parliamentary managers for failing to cultivate the Opposition.