Days after the Centre suspended its FDI retail policy, leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley claimed there was a rift in the UPA top brass saying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi are not on the same page.
He also said the government has to be large-hearted for creating political consensus if it wants to push economic reforms.
“If you need political consensus, the government has to be big-hearted. You cannot continue to act like big brother,” Jaitley said initiating a debate on the Appropriation Bill.
The BJP leader, however, praised finance minister Pranab Mukherjee for his consultation process with other parties terming him as an “exception in the UPA”. Pointing out that Mukherjee holds regular consultations Jaitley remarked: “Finance Minister, you have been the exception in this UPA government.”
Harping on the alleged divisions within the government, Jaitley said that unlike UPA-1 where Gandhi and Singh were on the same page, the two leaders now appear to be on different sides, even ideologically.
To support his argument, Jaitley pointed out that on the FDI policy in retail, the Congress president didn’t make a single statement apart from the lack of consensus within the ruling coalition.
“Before we can be told, please develop consensus within the UPA,” Jaitley said.
Training his guns on the PM once again, the leader of opposition said, “The Prime Minister cannot be a CEO merely implementing decisions by the Board. He must be vested with authority and confidence.”
He also claimed that the aura and credibility required for authority is missing in the UPA.
While the government is accusing the opposition of playing spoilsport on reforms, Jaitley argued that their support cannot come if the non-Congress states are discriminated in matters of allocation of coal blocks. Earlier, BJP member Ravi Shankar Prasad also raked up the issue of non-allocation of coal to power stations in non-Congress states.