'Unsure' Govt. not serious about conducting business in Rajya Sabha: Jaitley
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, on Wednesday said the Congress-led UPA Government doesn't seem to be serious about conducting business in the upper house from the very first day of the Winter Session of Parliament.
"The first few days were wasted because the government insisted they didn't want a vote in the Rajya Sabha. Obviously, the government is unsure of its figures in the upper house. After a few days when it agreed for a vote, both the government and its supporters amongst its allies, which include those outside supporters, have been disturbing the house every morning," said Jaitley.
"Not a single member of any opposition party has disturbed the house, nobody has gone into the well and we are waiting every morning so that the scheduled business can commence. It is the government members and those supporting the government who towards the well and disturb the house. This has happened for the last few days. The whole country has seen it," he added.
Jaitley, who will be initiating the debate on FDI in retail in the upper house on behalf of the opposition, said 'the government is unsure of which way the Rajya Sabha vote will go'.
"And therefore, it has no serious intention of allowing the Rajya Sabha to conduct its business," he added.
Jaitley further said the BJP has requested Rajya Sabha chairman Mohammad Hamid Ansari to call Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and make an honest statement on whether the government wants the upper house to run or not.
"We have therefore requested the chairman of the Rajya Sabha to call the leader of the house, the Prime Minister, and ask him to make a candid statement that the government wants the Rajya Sabha to conduct its business or not because you can't have day after day the government disturbing the Parliament," said Jaitley.
"The government does it directly through its members, it does it indirectly through its supporting members and that's been the story," he added.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla, however, hit back at Jaitley, saying it is the main opposition party that is disrupting the proceedings in the Parliament.
"It is Arun Jaitley who is distorting the facts. It is the BJP that is disturbing business in Parliament," he said.
The Rajya Sabha will begin debating on the FDI issue on Thursday and will vote on Friday.
Of the total 245 members in the Rajya Sabha, the UPA has a strength of 90. With 27 outside supporters from the BSP, SP, Lok Janshakti Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the government's tally stands at 117 as against the magical figure of 123 for majority.