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Sushma targets Pranab over Maoist remark

Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj tore into the government in the Lok Sabha.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
February 25, 2011 12:07:10 am

Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj on Thursday tore into the government in the Lok Sabha,demolishing its charge that the Opposition was responsible for Parliament getting paralysed and counter-alleging that it was the UPA that was attempting to undermine the authority of constitutional institutions.

Yet,at the end when the motion to set up the JPC was passed,she simply crossed over to the other side and hugged the leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee,seeking his forgiveness for the searing attack. That poignant moment was a triumphant one for Indian democracy.

That action also completely disarmed Mukherjee,particularly when he had to suffer the brunt of the initial attack in Sushma’s speech after he had spoken. Sushma picked on a reported comment of Mukherjee made in Siliguri where he was quoted as saying that the Opposition should join the Maoists,given their obstinate stand on the JPC issue that had led to a whole session of Parliament not functioning.

Mukherjee sought to explain his comment,saying “extra-constitutional authorities will emerge and try to fill the vacancy when constitutional machineries do not function,” he said.

Sushma retorted: “Is demanding a JPC a violent action? Is it an unconstitutional demand? And if we become Maoists by disrupting Parliament,what would you call your actions when you stalled Parliament for several days when we were in power and you asked for a JPC?”

She read out from a report by the then Lok Sabha secretary general that said 77 hours of business at a stretch was lost because of disarray leading to adjournment of the House at that time.

Later,heated exchanges were witnessed between the Opposition,led by Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh,and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal.

Sibal sought to put part of the blame for the telecom scam on the NDA government but when he started justifying his contentious statement that there was zero loss in the 2G scam,the Opposition got infuriated.

Sinha objected to the fact that the minister was drawing conclusions when the matter had been referred to the JPC. “I request the Leader of the House to take back his resolution (proposing a JPC probe in the matter). We do not want it… it is not a charity they are giving us,” Sinha said. Mukherjee had to intervene and pacify the members.

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