Govt not blinking for fear of putting leadership in a spot

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The Parliament logjam continues to sweat out the presiding officers, with the government refusing to yield even an inch to the Opposition’s demand for discussions on the snooping row and reply by either PM Narendra Modi or Home Minister Amit Shah.

The BJP apparently believes that accepting such conditions may put the top leadership in a spot while emboldening the rivals, who are closing ranks with an eye on 2024 Lok Sabha elections and next year’s state polls. For public posturing, though, the party asserts that the government is ready for discussion on any issue, including Pegasus, and it’s the Opposition that is running away. 

This line of argument was reiterated by senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad at a press conference on Thursday. “When Union minister Ashwani Vaishnav replied, Opposition MPs tore his papers,” he said. While many MPs from non-Congress and non-BJP ranks believe the government has no solution to offer to end the deadlock, NDA floor managers claim that accepting the Opposition’s conditions are out of the question. 

“The minister concerned replies to discussion under Rule 193. To demand that the PM or the Home Minister should reply is neither in line with norms and conventions nor acceptable. Besides, statements given in the House may expose the top leadership to any future consequences since the full account of the snooping issue is still not known,” said a senior BJP leader.

The government is also unfazed since it has managed to get the bills, some of them contentious, passed without Parliament scrutiny.  The BJP has, in fact, stepped up the heat against the opposition, particularly the Congress, over the disruptions. “Having dominated Parliament for the longest time since 1947, it is ironic that the Congress has the least respect for parliamentary ethos and proceedings,” said a BJP release. Taking “a walk down the history lane”, the party said that “till the interests of one dynasty are safeguarded, Parliament is ‘allowed’ to function”.