Bangalore: Hitting out at the Congress, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said it should not politicise the issue of Leader of Opposition status in Lok Sabha.
“Till day before yesterday, they had not asked for the recognition from the Speaker and have been going around criticising the government. They seem to have given a letter only day before yesterday,” he said.
“This blame game is not going to help. They should understand. They have so much to answer. There was no Leader of Opposition during Jawaharlal Nehru’s period,” he said, adding, there was none during Indira Gandhi’s or Rajiv Gandhi’s tenures too. The Speaker will take a decision on the Leader of Opposition soon, he said. “There are precedents, conventions and rules and regulations through which Speaker decides such things.”
Asked whether the government will offer Deputy Speaker’s post to AIADMK, Naidu said, “We have not offered (to AIADMK). We are discussing it. We are thinking of giving Deputy Speaker’s position to the Opposition – which party… because there are number of parties in the opposition also.”
On Hizbul Mujahideen’s reported threat against five individuals in Jammu and Kashmir, Naidu said terrorists and their masters will not be allowed to do what they want to.
“They want to create some panic, and at the same time Government of India is alive to the situation. They are taking all steps that are required to maintain peace and security in the country,” he said.
On Congress’ remarks that the budget is a continuity of the previous regime, Naidu said continuity is required for growth, as coming to power does not mean the new government should cancel everything what the Congress did or UPA did.
“Whatever they could not do we are trying to improve upon that, and we have come out with our vision,” he said.
He accused Congress leaders of indulging in double speak over the budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
“On one hand, Congress President (Sonia Gandhi) says that it is a copy of UPA policies and on the other hand,
Congressmen are condemning the budget. How can these two things go together? This is nothing but double-speak as usual,” he said.
On the opposition taking jibe at “Acche Din” slogan, the Minister said good days do not come in one night, but the beginning has been made in this direction by drafting a roadmap to bring the economy back on track.
Describing the budget as pragmatic, Naidu said, “Every effort is made to bring back the derailed economy and a solid roadmap for future has been laid in this budget.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called the budget as Sanjeevni because the country has inherited a very bad economy, Naidu said.
“The rupee value has gone down… prices were rising, investors were not coming to invest and market sentiment was hurt. In that situation our government has come to power,” he said.
On the demand by the opposition to increase the income tax limit to Rs 5 lakh, Naidu said there is no elbowroom for the Finance Minister to accept popular demand.
“As the economy improves, the Finance Minister will be able to provide some more services to the people. We cannot go on spending today which would be financed by taxation tomorrow. This is what Congress did. Ten years they have not done anything. That’s why now the burden has come on us.”
On the issue of price rise rocking Parliament on the opening day of budget session, Naidu said the problem was a creation of the Congress. “The discussion on price rise, Congress achieved a self-goal because they have been exposed thorougly. Prices have not risen because of our government,” he said.
On Congress protests over power cuts, Naidu said, “Can you generate power in 15 days? Then why you have not done in 50 years? Congress should answer that question.”
“Somehow I feel our friends are not able to digest that BJP has won election and they have lost…” he said and urged that the House be allowed to be function and the issue be effectively raised so that the government could discuss it.
On train fare hike, Naidu said the UPA had announced revision of fares on May 16, but left it for the next government to decide after they realised about losing Lok Sabha elections.
Asked whether government shouldn’t consider bringing out a white paper on financial burden it has inherited from UPA government, Naidu said, “It will be better. It is a suggestion for action because I also feel it is required that people of India should know what is the real position. Sometimes when we start reading the facts it will be embarrassing for others – make them angry as was the case when we placed facts about the health of the Railways.”