Widening gap between govt, ministers: BJP
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Last Updated: Thursday, September 02, 2010, 00:09
New Delhi: Alleging that there was a "widening gap" between government and its ministers, BJP today said the UPA coalition was forced to "either refer or defer bills" on which the principal opposition was not on board during the just-concluded monsoon session of Parliament.

"In one sentence, from the government point of view it was refer and defer session. Government had to either refer bills or defer bills. Where they got BJP support, they could get bills passed else they had to refer or defer them," Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said.

She listed the Enemy Property Bill and the Education Tribunal Bill as those which the government deferred while the NDMC Bill and Prevention of Torture Bill were referred to Standing Committee and Select Committee respectively, under BJP pressure.

"BJP is extremely satisfied with the performance of its members in both Houses. Where other opposition parties came with us we provided a united opposition, where the government responded positively we supported then and when neither government nor (other) opposition came with us we strongly stood our ground," Swaraj said.

She claimed that though BJP did not get support from other parties on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the Enemy Property Bill, it stood firm in its opposition.

On the crucial Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Bill, 2010, Swaraj claimed the principal opposition gave its support only when the government addressed the seven "concerns" raised by it.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley maintained that BJP's performance as a "responsible principal opposition" in the session was a "synthesis of opposition when required and cautious cooperation when the situation so warranted".

He criticised the government for "losing its grip on governance", appearing not to have any "collective responsibility", and there being lack of coordination between Union Ministers and the ruling party MPs.

"The leadership of the government appears to be losing its grip on governance. It does not appear to be moving with any collective responsibility....There was a gap between ministers and ruling party MPs. The widening of this gap was apparent," Jaitley said.

Citing examples of the "gap", he said that if priority of one minister was the Food Security Bill then for another it was the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Bill.

"There was no internal coordination also. One minister was stopping another's projects," he said.

BJP claimed that it had also put the Government on the backfoot on the "mess" in the Commonwealth Games preparations, issues relating to Bhopal gas tragedy and the "fleeing" of Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson.

The party raised serious concerns over the incidents of violence in Jammu and Kashmir, Swaraj said.

"We succeeded in setting our agenda, putting forward our stand and, when we did not get support of other parties, we remained unperturbed and stood our ground," she said.

She insisted that BJP scored over the government on several issues or extended support as it did not want to "oppose for the sake of opposing".

"On price rise when the government came up with a solution (after the Parliament was stalled for five days) we cooperated. An unprecedented motion was then adopted in the case and right to reply was also given to the opposition," she said.

The senior leader said BJP put the government in the dock in both Houses of Parliament on price rise. "We demolished the government's contention that inflation and growth go together and also when Finance Minister mentioned cooperative federalism and responsibility of both Centre and states in controlling prices," Swaraj said.

Though BJP did not get the support of other parties on two issues - the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the Enemy Property Bill - it firmly opposed the government.

"We took a firm stand against autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir," Swaraj said while Jaitley warned the government not to dilute the Armed Forces Special Powers Act as it would demoralise the security forces deployed in Kashmir.

On the Enemy Property Bill, BJP wanted it to be passed without amendments, Swaraj said.

On the NDMC Bill and Prevention of Torture bill, she said these were referred to the respective Standing Committees after BJP insisted on it.

The BJP leadership also scoffed at suggestions of a 'deal' between the party and the Congress during the session over the nuclear bill.

"I object to the use of the term deal. A deal has to be for the entire session and not a particular bill... it is a baseless allegation that it was a deal," Swaraj said referring to the nuclear bill passed by Parliament after several hitches.

Jaitley claimed that BJP had effectively taken on the government on the Manipur economic blockade, "misuse" of CBI, and diversion of SC/ST funds for CWG 2010.


First Published: Thursday, September 02, 2010, 00:09

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