Sibal downplays differences between Cong, TMC

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal on Friday downplayed the differences between the Congress and its ally Trinamool Congress.

Last Updated: Jan 06, 2012, 17:17 PM IST

New: Downplaying differences between
Congress and its UPA partner Trinamool Congress, HRD Minister
Kapil Sibal on Friday squarely blamed the Opposition for the
Government`s inability to get through the Lokpal Bill and FDI.

Dismissing the recent sparring between Congress and Mamata
Banerjee as "vicissitudes" of politics, Sibal stressed that a
"clear mandate ultimately" is required if an element of
certainty has to come to policy-making.

He told Karan Thapar on CNBC`s "India Tonight" programme
that Mamata`s support to Lokpal Bill would not have made a
difference as the government did not have numbers in the Rajya
Sabha and the Opposition decided to move the amendments only
after realizing it.

Asked about the Trinamool Congress supremo`s role, he
said, "even if she would have been on our side, we would not
have been able to pass the bill."

On whether it was not the UPA ally that made the
government roll back its decision on brining FDI in retail,
Sibal replied in negative saying it was reversed as
"Parliament became dysfunctional" for which he put the blame
on the Opposition, including BJP.

He, however, said, "We are a coalition government. We do
not have majority in Parliament. We have ideologies, which
are disparate. We have to cobble up a government to give some
direction to the nation. What we need is a clear mandate
ultimately by the people of India to bring the element of
certainty to policies and ideologies."

His remarks came when asked whether the Prime Minister has
got the spirit to carry on amid the odds stacked against the
government and with the resistance to the government`s
decisions coming not only from Opposition but also allies.

Asked about the recent controversy between Congress and
Trinamool Congress in West Bengal over the proposal to rename
Indira Bhavan, Sibal said, "These are all things that happen
in politics. We will go through these vicissitudes and we will
come around it. Do not worry about that."

He also rubbished rumours of the possibility of change of
guard at the Centre before the completion of the term of the
current Lok Sabha, insisting that Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh will complete his full term.

"Prime Minister will complete his term. This has been
stated more than once by Mrs (Sonia) Gandhi...that the party
is fully behind the Government. Doubting Thomases can always
doubt because that is their hope that it would happen," he
said.

Attacking the Opposition for playing "obstructive
politics", he alleged there were enough facts to prove that
their strategy was to defeat the Lokpal Bill.
BJP wanted to press for amendments to use it during
elections to claim that they made the Lokpal Bill stronger
while at the same time ensuring that there would no Lokayuktas
in states ruled by them, he said.

The minister said he was worried about the polity and
ideology of BJP saying the main Opposition party believes in
actually "obstructing and paralysing" Parliament.

"If a leader of the Opposition of a national party says
that obstruction is part of Parliament tactics and it becomes
embedded in the ideology of the national party, it`s a sad day
for the Indian nation," Sibal said adding that the "charge of
murdering democracy should actually be on the BJP."

Maintaining that running Parliament smoothly is a "joint
responsibility", Sibal said that during the height of the
Lokpal controversy he had attempted to meet a senior BJP
leader, who declined to meet him despite giving three
appointments. He, however, declined to name the leader.

PTI