Express News Service

ENGALURU: The recent monsoon session ended in an impasse between the government and opposition, and marked a new low in parliamentary discourse. The opposition claimed that it wanted a meaningful discussion on the issues facing the nation — inflation, farmers’ agitation, Pegasus issue, mishandling of the COVID pandemic, and the Chinese incursions — but the government “failed to discuss real issues and was arrogant and stubborn”, Congress Party Whip and Rajya Sabha MP Syed Nasir Hussain said.

In the past, the ruling Congress blamed the opposition BJP, now the tables have turned and the BJP is blaming the opposition for disrupting the House. What do you have to say?

Under Rule 267, the opposition raised the issue of inflation and fuel price, which has crossed Rs 100, the farmers’ agitation which went on for more than eight months, and during which more than 500 farmers died.

We wanted to discuss the Pegasus snooping issue, as phones of judges, journalists, defence officials and opposition leaders were spied upon, and are asking for an impartial inquiry monitored by the Supreme Court. Germany, France, Canada, Algeria, Hungary have already set up a probe.

What is the government afraid of, if it was serious, it could have called for a discussion. This is why the opposition was agitating.

House Chairman Venkaiah Naidu shed tears, what is your response?

Those in power should function impartially. He should be above politics. Instead of shedding tears and pointing out that he is helpless, he could have convinced the government to have a discussion on these vital issues. Both the government and those looking after business in the Rajya Sabha failed on this count.  Kharge said the PM did not have a minute to talk to Rajya Sabha members.

The PM, who had 11 hours and 45 minutes for rallies in West Bengal, did not have a minute to talk about inflation, farmers’ agitation, COVID mismanagement and other issues. The Home Minister, too, did not come to answer questions on phone tapping. Each bill was discussed for an average of nine minutes, which is a mockery of parliamentary process.

The treasury benches have alleged that opposition members behaved in an uncivil manner in the House of Elders?

The House of Elders is supposed to have a deeper and mature discussion on important issues, this is what the opposition is asking for. Whatever happened in the past four weeks is only because of the government’s immature approach to the request from opposition benches to raise urgent issues.

What do you have to say about women marshals being manhandled?

Selectively releasing a 2-minute 40-second doctored video to the media — which goes against House rules — and later blaming the opposition is only a cover-up for surreptitiously passing an important bill like GIC, especially as it was not even listed.

Add to this three layers of security with a ‘women shield’ of marshals to pass an important bill was a cheap move by the government. Two of our women MPs were manhandled and injured seriously, we have taken it up with the Rajya Sabha chairperson.  

Is there a plan to end the logjam?

This government has been arrogant, adamant and stubborn. If the government and opposition sit across the table, things can be sorted out.