Accusing Congress of indulging in unfair criticism on the Leader of Opposition (LoP) issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday asserted that the matter is in the purview of the Lok Sabha Speaker.
“The LoP issue is not in government’s purview. I don’t want to comment. But they criticise the government. They say that there is no meaning in democracy. It is against spirit of Constitution (if the LoP status is not given). They criticise Speaker also. Kamal Nath said the Speaker’s decisions are “flavoured” by ruling party. What is that flavour. I don’t know. He must be talking about his own experience,” Naidu told reporters here.
Taking exception to Congress leader Anand Sharma’s reaction that the Attorney General’s reported opinion is “not worth the paper on which it is written,” he said the comments are unfair. “AG’s opinion came. The Speaker would consider that and a
decision will be made. They attack AG even before that. First, they criticise government, then Speaker and now AG,” he said.
“AG is one of the senior-most legal luminary in the country. You may have difference of opinion on that. But how do you say it is not worth the paper it is written on,” he said. The government would abide by whatever decision is made
by the Lok Sabha Speaker on LoP issue, he said, adding that the NDA government does not believe in pressurising anybody.
“Why should we fear if an opposition leader comes. We have no problem if the Speaker decides in Lok Sabha. In fact,
they did not give their application till the other day,” he said.
Recalling that Leader of Opposition status was not given during Congress regimes earlier, Naidu said the Congress should explain the reasons for doing so before raising questions. Observing that LoP status was not given to TDP when
Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister in 1984, he said, “You need to explain to the country why you are not following what you are saying now.”
Alleging that the Congress is criticising the government even on small issues, he said the the party should behave with
“more maturity”. Referring to the issues of PM’s visit to BRICS summit, rise in rail fares, changes in civil services exam pattern and ordinance on Polavaram irrigation project as examples of Congress’ hasty criticism against the NDA government, he said decisions on these issues were, in fact, taken by the UPA government.
“They said PM should make a statement (on BRICS summit). Manmohan Singhji attended BRICS five times. But, he never made any statement,” he said. Similarly, the decisions on changes in civil service examination and rail fare hike were taken by UPA government, he said.
“They have a right to question. But how can they question for what they have done,” Naidu said, claiming that Congress is scoring “self-goals” with this behaviour.
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