Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said the government is ready to sit across the table with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to secure his party’s support for key bills, but maintained “no one in the Congress had so far asked us to do so.”
Talking to Hindustan Times on Tuesday, Naidu said, “If I am told that talking to Rahul Gandhi will solve problems I am ready to walk down to his house for talks. But I only hear from others that the government should talk (to) Rahul Gandhi while no one in the Congress has so far asked us to do so.”
Gandhi, who has stepped up attack on the BJP on several issues, plays a key role in deciding the Congress’ parliament strategy, according to the party insiders. While the NDA leaders have opened communication channels with party chief Sonia Gandhi and other senior Opposition leaders, there are no regular communication lines with Rahul.
Naidu, in fact, was the first to break the ice with Sonia when he drove down to her residence at 10 Janpath last year.
Keen to push the GST bill in this session, the minister said that the Congress can’t oppose the bill, “They were the original architects of the bill. They can’t afford to oppose and vote against it if the bill is brought for passage.”
Naidu also quashed the Congress’ charges that the principal Opposition party has not got any reply from the government in writing on its demands on the GST Bill: “When they have not given anything in writing to us, how can they except to get a written reply. We have replied verbally and can only give our views in writing when the bill is taken up for passage,” he said.