Despite their cut motions being defeated in the Lok Sabha, the Opposition parties on Tuesday claimed moral victory, saying that they were successful in pressuring the UPA over price rise.
“Our only purpose behind introducing the cut motion was to pressure the government into rolling back prices of petrol and diesel. We did not want to destabilise the government,” CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters.
“Both outside and inside Parliament, we were successful in pressuring the government as 201 MPs voted in favour of the cut motion, which is an encouraging number considering the fact that SP and RJD members had walked out,” he said.
Asked why the Opposition could not rope in the SP and the RJD to support the cut motion, the CPI(M) leader said, “We wanted both the parties to come with us, but they decided not to go with the BJP.”
“However, the cut motion should not have been seen as a move by any individual party. In fact, one of our MPs moved it. Ultimately, it should be seen in a larger perspective that the entire Opposition voted in favour of cut motion,” he said.
Mr. Yechury, however, said “only they [SP and RJD] can answer as to what kind of pressure they were under,” when asked if the two parties had entered into a deal with the UPA.
BJP leader Ananth Kumar said: “The government lost and the CBI won. Both Lalu and Mulayam fought on the streets against price rise but betrayed [the Opposition] in the House and befriended the government.”
Mr. Kumar also accused the Centre of “gross misuse” of the CBI to silence the parties which were protesting against price rise.
“Those parties which used to scream against price rise in favour of the common man and had decided to support the cut motion, ultimately rebelled and lent passive support to the government.”
He said the BJP would launch a signature campaign against price rise and submit a memorandum on the same to the President after a meeting of senior leaders of the party.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari, meanwhile, said: “It was inappropriate for the Opposition to move the cut motion at this time when the government has completed only 11 months in office.”
Asked about the BJP's allegations about the government having struck a deal to sail through the cut motion, Mr. Tewari said, “only those parties whose entire politics is based on deals use such language.”
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee termed the defeat of cut motions moved by the Opposition as “impressive approval” by the Lok Sabha to the demand-for- grants for 2010-11.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram described the cut motions as completely needless.