"Pendency of some anti-corruption bills was due to Congress’ failure".
Attacking Rahul Gandhi for his push to anti-corruption bills recently, the BJP on Saturday said he was a “late entrant” in the anti-graft bandwagon and his effort was “not genuine” as he never spoke earlier on the issue even when several scams took place during the UPA rule.
A day after the extended winter session of Parliament ended BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley told a joint press conference in New Delhi that the pendency of some anti-corruption bills was due to Congress’ failure and not because of the Opposition.
Ms. Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, said normal functioning of Parliament was scuttled by Congress members but the ruling party had no control on them.
On Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s push to the anti-corruption bills recently and his attack on the Opposition, Mr. Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said, “He is a late entrant in the anti-corruption bandwagon. He never spoke on corruption in the last 10 years. But now he says corruption is our (Congress’) issue.”
Ms. Swaraj added that Mr. Rahul was “not even genuine” in his efforts.
She said there were several scams during the UPA government but the Congress vice-president never spoke on it.
“Sau chuhe kha ke billi haj ko chali (after eating 100 rats, a cat goes to pilgrimage),” she said while taking a dig at Mr. Rahul.
Mr. Jaitley questioned why Mr. Rahul remained silent when scams related to 2G spectrum, coal block allocation, Commonwealth Games, Adarsh Housing Society and VVIP chopper deal took place.
Ms. Swaraj and Mr. Jaitley termed as “hypothetical” a question whether the party will extend support if the government chooses the Ordinance route on enacting the anti-corruption laws.
“There is no question of supporting or opposing the Ordinances...now there will be no session (of Parliament). If we come to power (at the Centre), we will make changes in the measures,” Ms. Swaraj said.
Mr. Jaitley said the just-concluded Winter Session of Parliament needs to be prorogued before Ordinance can be promulgated.
“Then we have to see when the (Election) model code of conduct will come into effect. The Ordinances have to be approved by the President...may be the next government will be left to ratify the Ordinances,” he said.
Mr. Rahul had on Friday indicated that Ordinances could be issued on anti-graft bills which could not be passed in Parliament.
Noting that there was a talk about the possibility of taking the Ordinance route to bring in these anti-graft measures, Mr. Gandhi said he had talked to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi in this regard.
The bills that Mr. Gandhi was seeking to push through included Public Procurement Bill, Timely Delivery of Electronic Services and Goods, Citizens Charter Bill, a bill dealing with Bribery of Foreign Officials and Prevention of Corruption Act (Amendment) Bill, besides the Whistleblower Bill, which was passed by Parliament.
The government has termed the Judicial Standards and Accountability bill as an anti-corruption measure but since the legislation deals with corruption in judiciary, Government is unlikely to bring any Ordinance on this.
Ms. Swaraj observed that the “least work” was done during the just-concluded Parliament session.
“Ruling party MPs created hurdles (in functioning of Parliament)...Congress has lost control over its ministers and MPs,” she said.
Keywords: Parliament session, winter session, BJP leaders, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, joint press conference, winter session, Lok Sabha proceedings, Rajya Sabha proceedings, parliament disruptions, Lok Sabha polls 2014