"Manufactured Issues": Arun Jaitley's Sharp Dig at "Muzzled" Opposition

The opposition had boycotted the Rajya Sabha during the second half of the day, complaining that they had not been allowed to raise some points that they wanted to highlight during the Zero Hour.

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'Manufactured Issues': Arun Jaitley's Sharp Dig at 'Muzzled' Opposition

Arun Jaitley delivered a stinging comeback on the opposition charge of their voice being muzzled


NEW DELHI:  An attack by the combined opposition targeting Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu for "muzzling" their voice drew a sharper rejoinder from Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who accused the Congress-led opposition of "manufacturing an issue where none existed".

The opposition had boycotted the Rajya Sabha during the second half of the day, complaining that they had not been allowed to raise some points that they wanted to highlight during the Zero Hour.

The Congress later led the charge, declaring that the presiding officers have traditionally accommodated requests from the opposition that come after the deadline. "(Now) they get up and adjourn the house. Our voice is being muzzled," Ghulam Nabi Azad, the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha said earlier in the day. The Rajya Sabha had later taken up the motion of thanks to the President in the opposition's absence.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, rejected the charge and hit out at the opposition. Mr Jaitley referred to Trinamool Congress' Derek O'Brien's attempt to raise an issue about the West Bengal Governor, saying the conduct of constitutional authorities was explicitly prohibited under the rules of the house.

"What opposition parties have done in Rajya Sabha is absolutely unprecedented. The Congress and some other parties have tried to manufacture an issue where none existed," Mr Jaitley told reporters, elaborating that the government business this week - discussion on the President's address and the Union Budget - afforded an opportunity to the opposition to raise every issue that they wanted.

Instead, if the opposition were to repeatedly violate the rules every day and make an effort to adjourn the house, it was obvious they didn't want an "organized and systematic discussion", Mr Jaitley said, asking the opposition leaders not to run away from the debates.

Senior Samajwadi Party lawmaker Naresh Agarwal accused the Chairman of the Upper House of being "partial" and alleged that the House was being run by the BJP. Much later, they clarified that they did not mean to cast aspersions about Mr Naidu, but "this is not the way Rajya Sabha is run".

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