'Cong spreading incorrect, malicious allegations against BJP'
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday hit out at the Congress on the Lokpal Bill fiasco in Rajya Sabha, alleging it was spreading baseless and factually incorrect views about the Opposition's role in the Upper House's failure to pass the proposed legislation.
"Congress has been spreading factually incorrect, false and malicious allegations against the BJP on the failure to pass the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha," BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi had alleged that the BJP was wrongly blaming the government for the fiasco and calling the event a murder of democracy.
"Assassins of democracy are blaming the victim. They are true murderers of democracy," Singhvi said, adding the Congress condemns the "obstructive, dilatory, negative, politically expedient and opportunistic conduct" of BJP.
BJP posed questions to the Congress and insisted on a clarification from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"On December 28, members of the Rajya Sabha got copies of the bill passed by Lok Sabha. Why was the debate not started in the Upper House post lunch the same day? A supplementary agenda on the Whistleblower Bill was moved at 3 pm but not on the Lokpal Bill," Prasad said.
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Image: Congress president Sonia Gandhi
'Is it a crime to move amendments?'
BJP defended the opposition decision to move 187 amendments, saying it was its right to do so.
"If you (government) can handle 76 amendments why not 187? Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley as well as Trinamool Congress had moved their amendments on December 28 itself.....Is it a crime to move amendments? They cannot take away this right. I can move 300 amendments. Each member can move one," Prasad said.
BJP leaders maintained that there is perhaps no precedent where a bill had not been passed as there were too many amendments.
"Moreover, most amendments related only to three issues of appointment and removal of Lokpal, autonomy to Central Bureau of Investigation and Lokayukta not being formed by a central law. Parliament knew every detail of the issue. The government is behaving as if the sky would fall due to these amendments," Prasad said.
The opposition further maintained that Congress used the two days after Lok Sabha approved the bill to try and manage its ally.
Image: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley
'The whole event was choreographed and players were fixed'
BJP is also miffed at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee not speaking on the issue in Rajya though they had participated in the debate in Lok Sabha.
"The prime minister is a member of the Rajya Sabha. Pranab Mukherjee chose to keep quiet and even the prime minister did not intervene.... Now the prime minister has given a New Year message saying his government will make strong efforts to fight corruption as if to accept that this was not being done till now," Prasad said.
Taking on the Congress criticism, BJP insisted that the ruling party has a "peculiar DNA" which is seen in its reactions. If there is any criticism of the Congress its leaders say the person is a "fascist, is trying to destabilize the government and seeking to derail democracy".
BJP alleged that Congress does not want an effective Lokpal and hence orchestrated this fiasco in Rajya Sabha.
"The whole event was choreographed and players were fixed. Lalu Prasad (Rashtriya Janata Dal chief), whom I have never seen in the visitors gallery, spent hours there during the debate in Rajya Sabha," Prasad said.
Image: RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav