Former Union minister and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh says finance minister Arun Jaitley showed a few years ago that disruption is a legitimate instrument of an opposition party. Excerpts:
Agenda for the session
Our main agenda is to oppose and expose the Modi government’s continued subversion of the Constitution. We will raise our voices against the Centre’s attempts to murder democracy. Second on our agenda is to highlight scams taking place under the Modi regime, such as the one in the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, and to expose the crony capitalism encouraged by his government.
Stand on GST bill
The Congress wants a pro-industry, pro-trade and pro-consumer GST (goods and services tax) bill. We want a ‘good and simple tax’ at a reasonable and competitive rate. The current bill is not satisfactory. As far as the demand for a rate cap is concerned, these are matters that will be discussed between the Congress and the government. But we are clear that there has to be a cap on the tax rate to protect consumers.
Opposition unity and floor strategy
The Congress is not isolated in Parliament. Our unity with other opposition parties is decided from issue to issue. On most issues, the Congress stands united with other opposition parties and you will see this on the floor of the House. The ‘murder of democracy’ is one such issue where the Opposition is united. The Trinamool Congress has already announced its opposition to the government’s mad scramble to open the doors to foreign direct investment in various sectors. More issues will come up during the monsoon session, including the scams, which will unite the Opposition further.
Disruption of the House
Please remember that the great political philosopher, Arun Jaitley, who is now finance minister, is the one who taught us a few years ago that disruption is a legitimate instrument of an opposition party in a democracy. We can’t forget what Jaitley said. But we are all for debate and discussion. The problem lies elsewhere. A debate can only take place if there is dialogue. This government does not believe in dialogue. It believes in monologue. Not even monologue, it only believes in what is known as ‘Modilogue’.