PM, Jaitley exchange sharp words in Parliament

New Delhi, Aug 30 : In a strong exchange of words, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attacked the Oppositions and said consensus building is the task of both the government and the oppositions.

"Consensus building is the duty of both the government and the opposition," Singh said after his statement on the economic crisis was ridiculed by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Friday.

Referring to the disruptions caused by the oppositions in the Parliament, he said," Have you heard of any countries where MPs shout and walk out to the well and say 'Prime Minister chor hai' (PM is a thief)."

"Despite what some members may say, I do command a certain respect in the council of ministers," the PM said.

He further said that," Have you heard of any parliamentary democracies where oppositions does not allow the PM to introduce his ministers?"

The PM said that it is also the responsibility of oppositions to invite investors by posing India as a viable country.

Jaitley also responded sharply and said,"Have you heard of any democracy where the PM buys vote in a trust vote?"

Jaitley earlier said the ruling UPA government has lost the confidence of both domestic and global investors in the past years owing to policy paralysis and ignoring warnings from across the world.

Reacting to the statement of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the condition of economy and the falling rupee, Jaitley asked while speaking in the upper house (Rajya Sabha): "You want to go back to prudence or give priority to populism?"

He said India is also losing confidence of investors not only abroad but also in India.

He said the Prime Minister emphasised the need for larger consensus on economy but "consensus emerges out of a political environment."

He said if it not built up by the government and instead fractured by them, it is not possible to have consensus.

"No government can say that I want consensus and be democratic but I am only a democrat when in distress," he said.

"We welcome a consensus," he said, adding that the government cannot regularly break and fracture the consensus.

"The whole world was warning us. Global investors and media were warning us of a spate of policy paralysis," he said.

He said the world was making a fair comment on India, but the government did not listen.

"We lost the trust of international and domestic investors and people said India may not be the best place to do business," he said.

He said India was shown as destination for investors but in the last few years lost it to things like corruption.

He referred to spectrum allocation and how licences were cancelled.

He said owing to corruption we have to now import coal and as a result there is current account deficit (CAD).

--IBNS (Posted on 30-08-2013)

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