A senior Congress leader on Wednesday said that the present regime at Centre is not the first government which has “offs and ons” with Pakistan and suggested finding out a modus vivendi to settle the problem of terrorism. Speaking during release of his book ‘Decoding a Decade: The Politics of Policymaking’ here, Manish Tewari also termed the demonetisation as “illegal” and expressed fear that people may lose confidence in rupee if demonetisation becomes a regular feature.
“Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, the destiny of 2.5 billion people living in South Asia is being held hostage to this (India-Pakistan) equation. And at some point of time, we have (had) this offs and ons with Pakistan for 67 years.
“This is not the first government which is doing it. Previous governments have done it. But, in my respectful opinion, at some point of time, we will have to find some modus Vivendi,” he said when asked about how to combat terrorism.
Tewari also picked holes in the government’s decision to demonetise Rs 1000 and Rs 500 currency notes, saying it is “illegal and a Tughlaqi farman” and raised questions over the move to introduce Rs 2000 note without amending the RBI Act in this regard.
He stated that the government cannot also restrict money withdrawal limits without invoking financial emergency in the country.
“Inconvenience (caused to people) is second leg of it (the problem).
The Congress spokesperson also sought to know how the government allegedly estimated that there is six crores of black money in circulation.
“…are we going to make demonetisation a regular feature in the country today? And the danger out there is people will lose their faith in rupee (if demonetisation is done regularly). So, this move may actually undermine the confidence people have in rupee,” he said.
On asked about conflict between judiciary and executive, the lawyer-politician noted that the tension is created when executive intentionally tries to “appropriate” space it conceded to judiciary due to poor governance.
He said, if the executive wants to “re-appropriate” the space, it should be done through better governance and not through confrontation “which is unfortunately is being seen”.
“It is perfectly alright for the judiciary to have a different view. But if the tension is created with the intent of trying to appropriate that space, then you have a problem. After the SC struck down the NJAC bill, the current government has to not taken it really in the spirit in which it should have been taken,” he observed.
To a question, Tewari suggested the need for amending the anti-defection law, restricting it to “only those instruments which impact the stability of the government”.
He suggested the change was required to provide freedom of expression to MPs and legislators by freeing them from the fear of loss of membership for following a line that is independent of positions of their respective parties in instances barring money bills, no-confidence motions, etc.
“The anti-defection law was the step in the right direction..yes, it has had implications in terms of restricting the legislative space for members in Parliament and the legislatures… but there is a strong case for liberalising the anti-defection law, restricting it to only those instruments which impact the stability of the government,” he said.
The event was attended by former Union Ministers Veerappa Moily and Oscar Fernandes, CPI national secretary Atul Anjan and others.