Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday stepped up efforts to end the face-off between the government and the Congress over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘conspiracy with Pak’ remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh. According to sources in Parliament, Naidu met Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress deputy leader in the House Anand Sharma and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel in his chamber to explore ways to end the impasse. He also met the three separately.
What transpired at the meeting was not immediately known, but apparently there was no breakthrough yet.
Earlier in the day, Naidu adjourned the House soon after it convened following a demand by the Congress. Azad sought an adjournment and pitched for an end to the logjam that continues since December 15, the first day of the winter session. “The House should be adjourned till a solution is found,” he said, adding that the Congress members do not want to enter the Well to force an adjournment.
The meetings took place after Naidu adjourned the House till December 27 for a long weekend and Christmas break. Sources said Naidu insisted on normal functioning of the Rajya Sabha when it reconvenes on December 27. He was learnt to have asked Leader of the House Arun Jaitley and Azad to continue with the negotiations to end the stalemate.
Both sides have dug in their heels over the issue, with the Congress demanding an apology from Modi for his remarks during the Gujarat election campaign that Manmohan Singh had connived with some Pakistani current and former officials to influence the polls, and the BJP rejecting it outright.
As the BJP and the government refused to oblige, the Congress softened its stand a bit, and said Modi should at least give a clarification about his remarks. However, even that has not come about. Even Naidu said recently that there was no question of an apology by anybody as the subject of confrontation was an event that happened outside the House.
Legislative business in both the Houses of Parliament has been affected due to repeated disruptions and uproar. The Rajya Sabha has been hit harder as the ruling dispensation does not have a majority in the Upper House.