Widening gap between govt, ministers: BJP

Last Updated: Thursday, September 2, 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.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, September 2, 2010 - 00:09

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