The main Opposition Congress on Friday gave two notices for bringing breach of privilege motions against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for giving “false” statement and “misleading Parliament during her reply to the discussion on India’s foreign policy and engagement with strategic partners in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. The notices by senior Congress leader Anand Sharma relate to the minister’s remarks on the Bandung Conference anniversary in 2015 and her comments on Pakistan.
During the discussion, Sharma said that Swaraj in her statement at the 2015 conference — held to mark the 60th anniversary of the historic Bandgung Asian-African meet — did not refer to India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru whereas leaders of other countries remembered and recalled him.
In the notice, the Congress said Swaraj while replying “completely denied that any speech or statement was made by any representative of Indian Government at 60th Anniversary of the Bangdung Conference”.
“We are shocked at the blatantly false and misleading statement given by the Minister for External Affairs on the floor of the House wherein the matter was discussed after giving due notice of short duration discussion which the Minister was also very keen to discuss and reply to,” the Congress said in its notice. “It is also a matter of shame that during the reply, the Minister said that Bangdung Conference is different from Asian African Conference whereas the fact is that Asian African Conference is popularly known as Bangdung Conference.”
To back its claim, the Congress said that Swaraj’s speech at the 60th Asian African Conference was available on the External Affairs Ministry website. It has also attached a copy of her speech and the statement made by MoS External Affairs V K Singh at the conference with its notice.
The Congress also gave a separate notice contesting Swaraj’s claim that the ties between India and Pakistan were cordial since the formation of the NDA government until the Burhan Wani encounter on July 8, 2016. Swaraj during her reply had asserted that the then Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif’s declaration that Wani was a freedom fighter had led to deterioration of relations.
“This statement is totally false as… immediately after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Lahore on December 25, 2015, Pathankot Air Force base was attacked by Pakistan-based terrorists on January 2, 2016. There was increase in terrorist violence, especially against the security forces immediately thereafter…” the notice said.
The Congress attached a list of major incidents of terrorist violence in J&K from January to August 2016 to back its charge.
Shukla objects to remark
Congress’s Rajeev Shukla on Friday took objection to Sushma Swaraj’s statement calling him a supporter of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, saying he had never advocated India giving a go-ahead to the plan. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said he would go through the records and take necessary steps.