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Swaraj keen to make statement in Parliament over Lalit Modi row

Facing heat from Opposition, government made it clear that external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is ready to make a statement in Parliament on allegations against her on facilitating Lalit Modi's travel documents.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2015 11:29 IST

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is ready to make a statement in Parliament on a controversy involving former IPL chief Lalit Modi, parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters on Monday after an all-party meeting called by him on the eve of the monsoon session.

However, Naidu rejected the demand for resignation being made by Congress at the same time.

“There is no question of accepting ultimatum by anybody. From where did the question of resignation arise? Nobody can dictate terms to the government. From the government’s side, no Union minister has done anything illegal or immoral," Naidu said.

The opposition, mainly the Congress, has been pushing for Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s resignation since the controversy erupted over their alleged help to former IPL chief Lalit Modi to get UK travel papers when his passport was revoked. Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Chouhan too is under fire over a multi-crore examination and recruitment scandal in the state. The demand has been spurned by the ruling dispensation.

Bracing itself for a stormy monsoon session beginning Tuesday, the government has decided to go for an aggressive counter-attack in the face of mounting criticism by the Opposition.

Already a number of Opposition parties -- like those from the Janata Parivar -- have shown that they do not share the Congress enthusiasm in seeking Swaraj's resignation.

Even at an all-party meeting on Monday, the Congress appeared to be isolated on its stance of "no resignation, no House" as most other parties said in the meeting that a washout of Parliament is not a solution.

Naidu said 29 opposition parties did not back the Congress' stand on not allowing the House to function. However, NCP's Tariq Anwar and CPI-M's Sitaram Yechury felt that the government needs to take action on the issue.

Faced with the Congress' aggressive campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reminded parties on Monday that smooth running of Parliament was the "shared responsibility" and appealed to them to use Parliament time to discuss all issues.

The NDA government is hoping to push two key reform-related bills – the land acquisition and the GST bills – in the monsoon session starting Tuesday, but is likely to run into rough weather, especially on the land bill which the opposition sees as anti-farmer.

Read:Modi offers debate on Lalit Modi, Vyapam; Cong rejects peace plea

Cong sets terms for Parliament to function, ready for 'battle'

First Published: Jul 21, 2015 07:55 IST