Behind Truce In Parliament Over PM's Comments, Many Meetings Between 4 Leaders

Since parliament's delayed and shortened winter session began, both houses have been continuously disrupted as the opposition raised slogans demanding the PM's apology.

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Behind Truce In Parliament Over PM's Comments, Many Meetings Between 4 Leaders

Since parliament's winter session began, both houses have been continuously disrupted

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Opposition wanted PM's apology after he alleged collusion with Pak
  2. BJP also hit back over Congress leader's slur against PM
  3. Meetings between both sides finally led to stalemate's end
Multiple meetings between four top leaders in the last week have led to an end to the stalemate in parliament over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "conspiracy with Pakistan" comments at an election rally earlier this month. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in the Rajya Sabha that the Prime Minister had not questioned his predecessor Dr Manmohan Singh's commitment to the nation and the Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad thanked Mr Jaitley for the clarification, also recording his party's disapproval of remarks made by Congress leaders against PM Modi. 

"The Prime Minister in his speeches didn't question, nor meant to question the commitment to this nation of either former PM Manmohan Singh or Former VP Hamid Ansari, any such perception is erroneous, we hold these leaders in high esteem, as well as their commitment to India," said Arun Jaitley in his statement.

Ghulam Nabi Azad said his party is "satisfied", adding, "I thank leader of the house for clarification on what has been an issue of contention. I, on behalf of my party, say that we disassociate from any comments made by any member during elections that may have hurt PM's dignity and we also don't want any such thing to be said in the future." He was seen to refer to suspended Congressman Mani Shankar Aiyar's "neech" comment against PM Modi earlier this month.
 
pm modi manmohan singh handshake pti

The Congress and Dr Singh were deeply shocked and hurt and PM Modi's remark and asked for an apology.

The short statements came after hectic week-long efforts to find a solution to the impasse over the opposition's demand that PM Modi apologise and explain his allegation that Manmohan Singh and other Congress leaders had conspired with Pakistanis at a dinner party to try and ensure a BJP defeat in the Gujarat elections. Former vice president Hamid Ansari was also present at the dinner, hosted by suspended Congressman Mani Shankar Aiyar.

Since parliament's delayed and shortened winter session began, both houses have been continuously disrupted as the opposition raised slogans demanding the PM's apology. The government has been equally adamant that PM Modi would not apologise or even explain his comments.

Senior BJP leaders said minister of state for parliamentary affairs Vijay Goel played a key role as he took the initiative last week to try and break the deadlock. He first met Dr Manmohan Singh, and told him that PM Modi had not spoken against him, the sources said. Dr Singh reportedly said a solution must be found to ensure that parliament functions. That meeting has been described by sources as the "turning point."
 
pm modi rajya sabha

All four leaders met again, ironed out remaining differences and the statements were read out in the Rajya Sabha.

Mr Goel then prepared a statement which Arun Jaitley, who is leader of the house, okayed, but senior Congress leaders Anand Sharma and Mr Azad vetoed. Similarly, a statement prepared by the Congress leaders was rejected by the BJP side.

On Saturday, Mr Jaitley and Mr Goel drove to Mr Azad's home, where Anand Sharma was present too. After discussions, two statements were prepped and agreed upon, one for each side.

This morning, as parliament opened after a three-day break, the government and opposition were still at odds over a single word in the statements, source said, but Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu stepped in, directing both sides to ensure the stalemate ended. All four leaders met again, ironed out remaining differences and the statements were read out in the Rajya Sabha.

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