Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Taking exception to the sudden change in the agreed timing of the India-U.S. nuclear debate in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, Leader of the Opposition in the House Jaswant Singh charged the government with taking Parliament arbitrarily and casually.

Raising the matter after zero hour, Mr. Singh said it was decided that the debate would begin at noon but the timing was changed to 2 p.m. to suit the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s convenience. “It illustrates how casually Parliament is treated by the Treasury Benches.”

Mr. Singh said it was the convention that whenever the Prime Minister and the Minister for External Affairs undertook foreign tours they came back and reported to Parliament. He recalled that Jawaharlal Nehru observed this established convention and forsaken foreign visits during sessions. The Prime Minister absented himself for almost an entire week during this three-week session of Parliament when there was so much activity in the neighbourhood, Mr. Singh said.