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Regret losing too much debate time in Parliament: Jaitley

February 23, 2014 17:04 IST

With several Parliament sessions during UPA-II being largely disrupted, BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Sunday "regretted" that a lot of valuable time was lost in the last five years due to "confrontationist politics" and said the Opposition achieves much more through debates than disturbances.

The Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha recalled high quality debates in the Upper House which helped expose the full facts of the alleged 2G scam and forced the Prime Minister to issue on a clarification on his controversial joint communique with Pakistan PM at Sharm el-Sheikh.

"It is my regret that a lot of valuable time was lost on account of disturbances and confrontationist politics... I have not the least doubt that quality debates serve a larger public purpose and even enable the Opposition and other MPs to achieve much more through debates than disturbances," he said.

The ruling Congress and BJP have blamed each other for frequent disruptions in both houses of Parliament during the last five years. The Opposition had not allowed any work in the entire Winter Session in 2010, demanding a JPC probe into the 2G allocation, which was met by UPA after much ado.

Pitching for more productive sessions, Jaitley said in a statement that a well-prepared opposition has an added advantage of embarrassing the government by confronting some ministers who may be inadequately prepared to deal with issues.

"The full facts of the 2G spectrum allotment were unearthed in a three-day long debate in the Monsoon Session in 2009. The then Telecom Minister A Raja was put to hard time to defend himself. A large number of facts unknown till then... are now a part of the CBI charge-sheet against the accused," he said.

He also referred to the impeachment of Justice Soumitra Sen, who was found guilty by MPs, the issues related to North East, including the communal violence in Dubri and Kokrajhar, to highlight how the members closed ranks in larger national interest.

Most of these debates have been telecast live by even the private news channels which show the public interest in the quality debates, Jaitley said.

Noting that one of the debates relating to the impeachment of Justice Sen has now become a subject matter of a detailed book published by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, he said when the Rajya Sabha debates, it debates well.

He also recalled the Rajya Sabha Chairman's comment in which he referred to the House as a "federation of anarchists" after his attempts to restore order amid frequent disruptions went in vain.

Members were seen on their legs for a detailed discussion on whether the comment should remain on record or not. Some agreed and others objected to it and one of the Members wondered if anarchists can have a federation, he said.

This was the Rajya Sabha at its best but hopefully there could have been greater opportunities for debate than otherwise, he said. 

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