Amid a stalemate over the suspension of 12 opposition Rajya Sabha MPs, Leader of the House Piyush Goyal on Friday said how can there be a reconciliation when these members are unwilling to apologise for their unruly behaviour in the previous session.
The issue came up in the House when Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Manoj Kumar Jha said in the Rajya Sabha that some Bharatiya Janata Party members 'gatecrashed' the site in Parliament complex where the 12 suspended members were staging an agitation.
"Gatecrashing amounts to taking away the democratic values," Jha said.
As some Opposition members tried to raise this issue, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said that he wants to clear a misconception that the Leader of Opposition was not allowed to comment on the suspension of members.
The Leader of Opposition in the House was given five minutes to speak about it during Zero House on November 30, he said.
Naidu further said, "I hope all will work together to resolve this issue. I have suggested both the Leader of the House and the Leader of Opposition to discuss and ensure smooth functioning of the House."
At this, Goyal posed how can there be a reconciliation when the suspended members are not ready to tender an apology.
"I want to understand from you sir, what does the Opposition expect from us?" he asked.
Claiming that some members of the opposition parties had approached him on this issue, Goyal told the House, "I said, I am happy to meet everybody but... a courtesy towards the Chair and nation is an apology. They said we cannot apologise."
The Leader of the House further said that he told the opposition members about past instances where he and the Chair had apologised for very minor issues.
"They (opposition members) feel what they have done is very legitimate and noble. In these circumstances, what do we talk to the Opposition?" he said.
"Some leaders of opposition parties and some suspended MPs have been making provocative statements in the last few days. They are saying 'maafi kis baati ki' (what's there to apologise?). This shows they are endorsing the attack on marshals and unruly scenes in the House in the last session," he added.
The 12 opposition MPs were suspended from the Rajya Sabha on Monday for the entire Winter Session of Parliament for their 'unruly' conduct in the previous session in August.
The Opposition has termed the suspension as 'undemocratic and in violation of all the Rules of Procedure' of the Upper House.
The suspended MPs include six from the Congress, two each from the Trinamool Congress and the Shiv Sena, and one each from the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India-Marxist.
They have been holding day-long protests in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue inside the Parliament complex and have decided to continue to do so every day till their suspension is revoked.