NEW DELHI: The Opposition on Thursday sought to keep up the pressure on the government over its demand for a discussion on the India-China clash with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge asking Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar to allow the discussion even if it wasn’t covered by the rules, and Union ministers Piyush Goyal and Nirmala Sitharaman countering him, recalling that there were occasions in the past when Congress governments refused to entertain demands on sensitive matters of national security.
Leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Kharge also rejected a suggestion by Dhankhar that he and leader of the House Piyush Goyal sit across the table in his chamber to discuss their demand for a discussion on the border clash and the situation on the border.
This is not something that should be done behind closed doors. Rather, the discussion should happen in the open, and in front of everyone, Kharge said, adding “I can assure you that more patriots are sitting on my side. “
Goyal recalled that there were several occasions in the past when Congress, then in the government, did not entertain demands for discussion. Besides, he said external affairs minister S Jaishankar and defence minister Rajnath Singh have already spoken on the issue.
The senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader also took a swipe at the sharp swipe at the Congress, saying a former prime minister (Jawaharlal Nehru) gave a statement in Parliament in 1962 that played down the separation of a large part of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, saying “not a blade of grass grew there”.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman added. “The LoP is objecting to your decision to hold a discussion on India China issue behind closed doors. I want to remind you that Union law minister Kiren Rijiju had given notice to discuss the India-China clash in 2005 but ex-President Pranab Mukherjee, who was then the leader of the House, urged Rijiju to discuss the China issue behind doors since it “was sensitive” issue.
Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi underlined Dhankhar’s offer which was thwarted by opposition leaders. “Despite losing our land to China (when the Congress was in power), not respecting the chair to have a meeting is an insult to the chair and the position. I appeal to them to mend their behaviour. They claim to be the oldest party that has ruled the country for 60 years. This behaviour of theirs will not be missed by the people of the country,” Joshi said, according to PTI.