New Delhi: Government faced an embarrassing situation in the Rajya Sabha today as it found a debate on Gaza situation listed in the day`s business even though it was vehemently opposed to such a move.
The Opposition parties including Congress and Left pressed for a debate citing the listing of the item as part of business. This created a difficult situation for the government which tried hard through the day to wriggle out citing various rules.
The government, which has written to Chairman Hamid Ansari for disallowing a debate, wanted the Rail Budget to be taken first which was not agreed to by the opposition.
Resisting the debate, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said she had come to know late about the listing of the issue in the day`s business and had written to the presiding officer requesting that it should be dropped.
"We have diplomatic ties with both nations. Any discourteous reference to any friendly country can impact our relations with them," she said.
Government sources said a "communication gap" led to such a situation where the government was caught on the back foot as the Minister was not prepared for a discussion. Government also said that the debate could impact upon India`s diplomatic ties with Israel and Palestine.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "We cannot take up Railway Budget unless the first item is disposed of." He was joined by leaders of other parties who cited rules, saying even the Chairman has no powers to alter the business of the House.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said, "In the larger interest of the country, I urge the House to take up the Railway Budget," that went unheeded with opposition members.
Citing parliamentary rules, Naidu said there cannot be a discussion in relation to a matter which is not primarily the concern of the Government of India and that it shall not refer discourteously to a friendly foreign country.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said government business gets precedence and till Chairman`s decision on the External Affairs Minister`s letter is taken, government business has to be taken up first. "Railway Budget needs to be taken up first and completed. It is important," he said.