'Arun Jaitley Is Our Hanuman', Says Samajwadi Party Leader Naresh Aggarwal In Parliament

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'Arun Jaitley Is Our Hanuman', Says Samajwadi Party Leader Naresh Aggarwal In Parliament

Samajwadi Party leader asked Arun Jaitley to stop Rajya Sabha's "powers from being curtailed."


New Delhi:  Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Aggarwal compared Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to Lord Hanuman from the epic Ramayan in parliament today and asked him to stop the Rajya Sabha's "powers from being curtailed."

Mr Aggarwal was speaking in a debate on four Goods and Services Tax or GST related bills that were passed by the Lok Sabha last week and were presented in the Upper House today. Opposition parties have objected to the bills being presented as Money Bills which means that changes suggested by the Rajya Sabha are not binding.

The opposition alleges that this is the government's way of making the Upper House irrelevant while clearing important legislation - the government has a big majority in the Lok Sabha and has no trouble pushing legislation. But in the Rajya Sabha, it is in a minority.  

Mr Aggarwal said Mr Jaitley, as leader of the Rajya Sabha, could change that. "You brought this as a Money Bill. We all have objections to this. When Hanuman was told about his powers, then he had realised. Arun Jaitley, you are our Hanuman, the leader of this House and a constitutional expert. If you diminish the powers of this House, then your rights and power will also get curtailed," the Samajwadi Party leader said.

The Congress' Anand Sharma, who initiated the discussion, said the Rajya Sabha "has deliberately not been given that much importance when it comes to important legislations". In the Lok Sabha last week, the party's M Veerappa Moily had said all members of the Rajya Sabha should "resign if they have some pride left."

Union Minister Bhupendra Yadav of the BJP defended the government's move to bring the GST bills to parliament as Money Bills, saying when it comes to tax laws and legislations relating to money, the people's verdict is represented in the Lok Sabha as decided by the makers of the constitution.

"If the Lok Sabha is made up of elected representatives, is the Rajya Sabha a House of beggars?" said Naresh Aggarwal, who spoke after Mr Yadav. "I don't know why this discrimination was made," he said, suggesting that the constitution be amended to "fix the anomalies."

The government had used its majority in the Lok Sabha to vote down changes that opposition parties had suggested in the four bills in that House last week. It has no worry about the opposition stalling the bills in the Rajya Sabha, because the Money Bills rule applies.

If the Rajya Sabha approves amendments in the bills, they will go back to the Lok Sabha, which can choose to accept or reject the changes. The bills are crucial for the government to meet its July deadline to launch GST, a national tax that subsumes all indirect taxes of the centre and states. The Budget session of parliament ends of the 11th of this month.

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