New Delhi: Turning emotional very briefly on Wednesday evening, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu accused the opposition of being extremely disrespectful towards External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in not allowing her to defend herself against a Rahul Gandhi charge that former IPL czar Lalit Modi had paid Rs. 12 crores to her family to ensure his safety from the law of the land.
Naidu also squarely blamed the Congress for not allowing Parliament to function and deliberate on serious issues during the month-long Monsoon Session, which will conclude tomorrow.
"It is painful that the ruling party cannot say anything. Parliament should be allowed to function. The opposition cannot question Sushma Swaraj`s integrity. I feel sad that our minister was not even allowed to speak," said Naidu.
On the opposition`s repeated demand for Prime Minister Modi to come to the house to state his government`s position on Lalit Gate and the Vyapam scam, and also its endeavor to question the latter`s political integrity, Naidu said, "Our PM is respected everywhere in the world, not just in India."Naidu`s diatribe against the opposition came after an unrelenting Congress finally agreed on Wednesday to allow a debate on the Lalit Gate controversy involving Swaraj in response to government`s appeal to allow proceedings in Parliament, as it attempted to push the Goods and Services Bill in Rajya Sabha.
Before adjourning for the day, members defeated an adjournment motion against Sushma Swaraj by voice vote.
Rising to the defence of Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, "Rahul Gandhi is very fond of citing three monkeys, but do not make a monkey out of the nation. There are many honest people in this country whose children have to work for their living. But there are generations which have ruled the politics of this country and have lived without working."
He also asked the opposition as to what had the previous UPA Government to bring black money back to India.
"You somehow want to sabotage the Indian growth story. Sushma Swaraj ji is the scapegoat of pretext to prevent legislation. UPA took steps in the wrong directions and contrary to belief could not have helped in acting against Lalit Modi. Current govt has initiated steps in the right direction from registration of case under PMLA to issuing a non-bailable warrant," said Jaitley.
On the Lalit Modi issue, he said "There has been no red corner notice against Lalit Modi, only a blue corner notice, that too, a light blue notice."
"We expected the Congress to back their allegations with evidence. The government believes all allegations levelled by Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and others are baseless. Without an issue, you hold up Parliament and waste a session," a scathingly acerbic Jaitley said.
By then the Congress leaders had walked out of the Lok Sabha.