On Ex-Vice President Hamid Ansari's Claim On PM, Government's Counter

In his book, "By Many A Happy Accident", Hamid Ansari talks about PM Modi walking into his office "unscheduled" and saying: ''There are expectations of higher responsibilities for you but you are not helping me''.

On Ex-Vice President Hamid Ansari's Claim On PM, Government's Counter

Hamid Ansari said he told the PM that his work in the Rajya Sabha and outside was public knowledge.

New Delhi:

Former Vice President Hamid Ansari's claim in his memoirs of being questioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not helping clear Bills amid disruptions has been strongly refuted by government sources.

In his book, "By Many A Happy Accident", Hamid Ansari talks about PM Modi walking into his office "unscheduled" and saying: ''There are expectations of higher responsibilities for you but you are not helping me''.

Mr Ansari said he told the PM that his work in the Rajya Sabha and outside was public knowledge. ''Why are bills not being passed in the din?'' - he quoted the Prime Minister as asking.

Government sources questioned that version, saying while Mr Ansari claimed he had refused to pass any bill amid disruptions, he had done so for 13 bills during the previous Congress-led rule.

The bills were passed between 2007 and 2014 in the Rajya Sabha amid chaos when Mr Ansari was at the Chair, the sources asserted.

These included legislation on merchant shipping, the Carriage By Road Act, the Competion (Amendment) law, cigarette and other tobacco products, quota for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, amendments to IT law, AIIMS amendment law, on railways and the law to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh to carve out Telangana.
The government's counter comes amid buzz over Mr Ansari's remarks on PM Modi and the BJP-led government during the final years of his tenure as Vice President of India.

The NDA, he writes, "felt that its majority in the Lok Sabha gave it the 'moral' right to prevail over procedural impediments in the Rajya Sabha".

"An expression of this was conveyed to me authoritatively, and somewhat unusually, when one day PM Modi walked into my Rajya Sabha office unscheduled. After I got over my surprise, I made the customary gestures of hospitality.  He said that 'there are expectations of higher responsibilities for you but you are not helping me'. I said that my work in the Rajya Sabha, and outside, is public knowledge. 'Why are bills not being passed in the din?' he asked. I replied that the Leader of the House and his colleagues, when in Opposition, had appreciated the ruling that no bills will be passed in the din and that normal procedures of obtaining consent will be observed," Ansari writes.

"He then said that the Rajya Sabha TV was not favourable to the government. My response was that while I had a role in the establishment of the channel, I had no control over the editorial content and that a committee of Rajya Sabha members, in which the BJP was represented, provided broad guidance to the channel, adding that from all accounts, the channel's programmes and discussions were appreciated by the viewers," he adds.