The war of words between the Congress and the BJP over the lokpal bill continued on Monday with both blaming each other for December 29 fiasco in the Rajya Sabha.
While the Congress accused the BJP of “complete lack of consistency between its stated intentions and professed actions”, the main opposition party charged the ruling party with spreading “factually incorrect, false and malicious allegations” against it on the issue.
“Heavens would not have fallen if the BJP would have supported the lokpal bill which was passed in the Lok Sabha. After all, the same political parties, the same political formations which passed the bill in the Lok Sabha are also present in the Rajya Sabha,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.
“I think the whole question was of intent. There was one stand which the BJP was taking outside the parliament and there was another stand which they were taking within.”
Rubbishing the charge, BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad questioned Congress instead. “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 3pm but not on the lokpal bill,” he said. Prasad also maintained that it was the right of MPs to move any number of amendments and added that this could not be used as a pretext for putting the bill in cold storage.
“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.....Is it a crime to move amendments? They cannot take away this right,” Prasad said.
He accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee of being silent spectators when Parliament was “shamed” in their presence.
Tewari hit back, saying the Congress or the UPA government does not choose its speakers on the advice or to the liking or disliking of the BJP.
He also accused the opposition, especially the BJP, of creating a “spectre of negative politics” starting from the 2G issue to the lokpal bill, saying all “this negativism affected investment and over-all growth climate. Tewari hoped that the BJP will change to playing positive politics in 2012.