Questioning the delay in granting the Leader of Opposition’s post to his party, Congress leader Amarinder Singh on Sunday said no decision by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan in this regard till now has raised fears that she could be “influenced” by the government.
The deputy leader in Lok Sabha charged the Narendra Modi government with being “petty” and “unfair” to the Congress in not granting the official Leader of Opposition’s post and feared that key appointments like that of Central Vigilance Commissioner and others would not be made fairly.
“The Congress has formally written to the Speaker for over 10 days now, but she is yet to give her decision. I wonder what is delaying the decision. The delay raises fears that her decision may be influenced by the government,” said the former Punjab chief minister.
He said the Speaker does not belong to any particular party and is supposed to take decisions independently and cannot be influenced.
Asked about the manner in which government was behaving on the issue of granting the post to Congress and also the seating arrangements in Lok Sabha, he said, “Government is acting petty. They are being unfair to the Congress.”
He said if there was no Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, key appointments will be made only by the government and that would not be appropriate as their independence could be affected.
“The LOP has to be there. If you do not have an LOP then the independence of key positions like that of CVC could be affected. If only the government would make such appointments, then that would not be appropriate,” he said, adding that the Congress has the option of going to court if it is denied LOP.
Singh also differed with his colleague Anand Sharma on arresting Ved Pratap Vaidik for meeting 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan and said, “There should be a probe and the matter be investigated first on whether Vaidik has links with an anit-national. He could be detained first rather than arresting him straight away.”
Singh said the journalist should answer as to how he managed to meet someone who is well-protected in Pakistan and how he had access to him.
He said nobody will allow Vaidik to meet Saeed just like that.
“That means he (Vaidik) has access to him (Saeed) and is in contact with his establishment. That needs to be probed and investigated,” he said.
The Amritsar MP said he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for formulating a National Drug Policy to help save Punjab from the menace of drugs.
He said Modi has replied to him by merely acknowledging his suggestion. “He has not given any assurance on the problem,” he claimed.
Singh, who defeated Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Lok Sabha polls, said the Congress will continue to act as a vigilant Opposition despite the less numbers it has in the Lower House.
“We will continue to act as a vigilant Opposition and will work hard to stop the government from taking any wrong decision. But we will not be obstructive,” he said even if his party is denied the LOP’s post.
Singh said the Congress has won votes of as many as 11 crore people across the country against BJP’s 17 crore voters and would thus continue to work for safeguarding the interests of the country and the people.
Asked about the increase in FDI to 49 per cent in the insurance sector, he said the Congress has not yet decided on whether to support the government on this.