Were you surprised when the government agreed to a discussion the moment you sought one?
No. That is the easiest escape route, just discuss and finish off the issue. The BJP and the government wants to end the issue and run away by just having a discussion for one or two hours. We will not let them… We want those facing allegations to resign first and then we will have a discussion… The benchmark was set by the BJP itself when they were in opposition… They demanded the resignations of the Maharashtra chief minister, Union law minister and railways minister at various points of time. Did they say we will discuss first?
The BJP says the government is ready for a discussion and it is the Congress that is running away.
We too are ready for a discussion. But discussion should follow resignation. A debate has been on in the country for the last one month. Whether on the Vyapam scam or on the Lalit Modi (controversy), we have seen the debate play out, day in and day out, on the media. It is the voice of the media, both electronic and print, and the voice of the people that we placed inside the House as the Opposition. You were unsuccessful, maybe we will succeed.
You gave the notice for a discussion and when the government agreed you say you want the resignations first. The BJP is saying the Congress is changing the goalpost.
How can we demand resignation through a notice? See, there are rules in Parliament. You can raise the issue through certain rules and the rules prescribe notices to be given in a certain format…. Which rules allow you to give a notice demanding resignations?
The Congress seemed more or less alone today. Only the CPM and the Samajwadi Party joined the demand and said discussion should follow the resignations. The BSP, BJD, AIADMK, TMC, DMK and JD(U) was not seen stalling the House or shouting slogans.
We were not alone. The BSP was not present in the House. The Trinamool Congress did not come. The AIADMK did not come. There was the Congress, the NCP, the SP, the CPM and the CPI. We have not seen that (the isolation) on the floor of the House.
Have you reached out to other Opposition parties?
Where is the question? Each political party is responsible. They know their responsibilities and duties and I am sure insofar as these issues of scams are concerned — demands for action to be taken and resignations to be given — the Opposition has a view and they have expressed it. Whichever opposition party was present in the afternoon, the deputy chairman allowed those who had given notices and they placed their views.
But the others did not even give notices to raise the issue, did they?
They did not give today. They will give in future. Parliament has just begun.
Today was day one. How long can you prolong this?
Let us see. Parliament has just begun. The Vyapam scam, in which so far 40 witnesses have been killed, and the Lalit Modi episode have been in the news for almost the last one month. So many witnesses were killed. That means some influential force, either in the form of money or in the form of government, is behind the killers. So a CBI inquiry or any number of inquiries will not be complete and cannot be held impartially with the chief minister at the helm.
Similarly, we want an investigation into the Lalit Modi affair to find out whether the chief minister of Rajasthan is involved and the external affairs minister is involved. An inquiry will not be successful if they too continue at the helm. We are ready for discussion for as many days as the BJP government is, but only after the resignations. We too want bills to be passed but at the same it is our duty to raise issues that concern the nation.
The government is saying these issues are state-centric. None of these issues is a state issue. Hundreds of people from across the country appeared for examinations in Madhya Pradesh and they were duped as the examinations were fixed much in advance. In the case of Lalit Modi, it has reached from London to Portugal. It is in fact an international issue.