NEW DELHI: As the blame game continues over disruptions in Parliament, the Opposition on Thursday tried to turn the table on BJP by quoting late saffron leaders Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj to make their point that it is the responsibility of the government to ensure smooth functioning of the House.
The monsoon session has so far seen a united Opposition taking on the treasury benches over Pegasus spyware, leading to disruptions in both Houses. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that the conduct of the Opposition is an insult to the Constitution, democracy and the people.
The Opposition leaders are now targeting the BJP government, quoting what former Union ministers Jaitley and Swaraj had said on the floor during UPA II, when their party was in the Opposition.
The Opposition leaders from Congress, NCP and others even shared on social media video clips and statements made by the two late BJP leaders to make their point.
Congress chief whip in Rajya Sabha, Jairam Ramesh quoted an August 24, 2012 statement of Jaitley: “It is not that we have decided no work will be done (in the Parliament). What we are doing (obstructing Parliament) is very important work itself.” He also shared Swaraj’s September 8, 2012 statement: “Not allowing Parliament to function is also a form of democracy, like any other form.” Manickam Tagore, Congress Lok Sabha MP, also quoted Jaitley where the former Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha was justifying protests.
He cited January 30, 2011 comments of Jaitley: “Parliament’s job is to conduct discussions. But many times Parliament is used to ignore issues and in such situations, obstruction of Parliament is in the favour of democracy. Therefore parliamentary obstruction is not undemocratic. Tagore quoted another Jaitley comment from Jaitley’s remarks on August 26, 2012, which said, “There are occasions when obstruction in Parliament brings greater benefits to the country. Our strategy does not permit us to allow the government to use Parliament (for debate) without being held accountable.”
Joining the ranks, NCP Rajya Sabha MP Majeed Memon questioned why the government did not concede to the just demand of Opposition to have a full fledged debate on Pegasus snooping when Supreme Court calls upon the Centre to come forward and answer questions raised in petitions.
“It is the government’s job to run the Parliament and not of the Opposition’. Cried Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, the BJP leaders, when they sat in Opposition. Have the rules changed now?” he questioned. Another Opposition MP mentioned another Swaraj statement from August, 2012: “We had to stall Parliament to expose the government and its corruption.”