Finance Minister Arun Jaitley responded to Rahul Gandhi’s attack over various issues Tuesday, including the JNU controversy and the economy.
Without naming JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, Jaitley said during an intervention in the Rajya Sabha, “I expect mainstream parties like Congress to be in the forefront of being against these people. Please don’t do anything that lends respectability to such people… People have the right to free speech, but not to break the country.
Amid Opposition chants that videos of Kanhaiya’s speech had been “doctored”, Jaitley said the government has nothing against a “particular student”. “This is the time when we don’t need obstructive democracy. Our approach will have to be to work together,” he said.
He attacked the UPA over the Ishrat Jahan killing, saying it had changed the composition of the SIT on a couple of occasions. “In the process, you unbared the entire security apparatus of India because you wanted to fix a political leader… some day an investigation will take place on how internal security was played with.”
On talks with Pakistan, he said that contrary to the “Sharm el Sheikh” episode, when the Congress-led government agreed to continue talks with Pakistan despite terrorism, “we are compelling Pakistan for first time to own up that attack in India is taking place from their land”.
He mocked Rahul, saying someone has convinced him to do calculations on the back of the envelope, and defended his government’s decision to not pass on the benefit of dip in crude prices to consumers. He said that the difference between the existing prices of oil in the country and the rate of purchase of crude oil has been divided in three parts and benefits have been passed on to the consumers, part to oil companies and part invested in infrastructure building.
Referring to black money, Jaitley said the government is proceeding as per the rulebook, and added making public defaulters’ names via a process other than judicial would indirectly benefit those stocking black money abroad. Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad countered that while in opposition, the BJP hadn’t accepted a similar argument from the Congress.
Security to Kanhaiya: Naqvi
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said security will be provided to Kanhaiya Kumar and an investigation is on to ascertain the authenticity of video clips of speeches at JNU that were aired by some channels. This was after Azad said Adarsh Sharma of Purvanchal Sena had put up posters announcing a reward of Rs 11 lakh for anyone who kills Kanhiaya Kumar, and that a BJP Yuva Morcha leader, whom Azad named as Kuldeep Varshnay, has announced Rs 5 lakh for cutting off Kanhaiya’s tongue. Naqvi said the BJP has already taken action against the leader who had offered a reward and legal action would be taken.