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Cong ‘casting aspersions’ on constitutional authority: govt

The continuing war of words between the government and the opposition signals that the bitterness in their ties, which came to the fore repeatedly during the Winter Session of Parliament, may well spill into the Budget Session, which will begin in January-end.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
December 25, 2021 3:56:30 am
Pralhad Joshi (left) and Jairam Ramesh.

A DAY after Rajya Sabha Secretariat countered the Congress’s charge that Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had left it to the government and opposition to resolve the stalemate over the suspension of 12 MPs from the House saying that he “cannot do anything”, the government on Friday hit out at the Congress and accused it of “casting aspersions” on the functioning of a Constitutional authority. The Congress responded, saying “respect has to be commanded, not demanded”.

The continuing war of words between the government and the opposition signals that the bitterness in their ties, which came to the fore repeatedly during the Winter Session of Parliament, may well spill into the Budget Session, which will begin in January-end.

On Friday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi hit out at the opposition in a statement. He said the people and “even history is witness to the level of noise and indiscipline that the opposition has made a kind of practice to bring to the sittings of the House” and asked them not to give “factually and morally incorrect statements”.

It was “both astonishing and saddening” that the… opposition, especially senior members of the Congress party, have deviated from the well-known truth about what transpired in the recently concluded session…” he said, arguing that “opposition appeared committed to hampering the running of the House”.

“It was painful, when some members of the opposition reduced the temple of democracy to a theatre of street fight. The Chairman, deeply pained, reached out to the opposition to break the stalemate. The opposition came back in multiple voices which were unclear and contradictory at the same time. Duplicitousness was obvious beneath some weak conciliatory overtures.”

“When the Chairman reached out in a concrete manner, the response proved that the intention beneath the conciliatory talk was that the House not run. Now in order to somehow create the opposite narrative, senior members of the Congress party such as Jairam Ramesh by casting aspersions on the functioning of a Constitutional authority, the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, do a disfavour not only to the truth, but to democracy itself,” Joshi said.

Ramesh responded sarcastically to the statement. “I hope the mention of my name in Pralhad Joshi’s statement defending an unconstitutional and illegal suspension of 12 MPs is not a prelude to my suspension for the forthcoming Budget Session. This regime… is simply not interested in any meaningful discussion…” he said. Replying to Joshi’s charge, Ramesh said, “As far as Joshi’s accusation is concerned, I have always believed respect has to be commanded, not demanded.”

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