Government shunning debate, not us, says Congress


New Delhi, Nov 24 (IANS)

Reiterating its demand for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence in the Rajya Sabha as it debates demonetisation, the Congress on Thursday said “it’s the government which is running away from the debate and not us”.

“We are not running away from the debate. We want it to take place, but it has to happen in a way similar to August 30, 2013, when the BJP (then in opposition) wanted then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to be present in the house for a debate,” senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh told a press conference in Parliament House.

Criticising the government’s move of demonetisation, the former minister said that it is “one man’s desire, who wants maximum publicity”.

“We want Prime Minister to be present in the house, as he is the one who came up with the scheme of demonetisation,” Ramesh said.

The Congress leader said that had Modi been present in the Rajya Sabha, the ongoing debate on the issue would have been completed.

“It (the debate on demonetisation) would have taken maximum four hours, and I refuse to believe that the Prime Minister can’t spare that much of time,” he said, adding that the house would move ahead only when Modi listens and responds to the debate.

Ramesh also accused the government of inciting its members to create ruckus in the house.

“It’s a bizarre situation where MPs of the treasury benches are being provoked to protest, so it’s them and not us who are running away from the debate,” he added.

Commenting on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks in the Rajya Sabha, the Congress leader said that “he uses his words carefully unlike the present Prime Minister who believes in creating drama”.

On whether Singh was right in using remarks like “monumental mismanagement” and “organised loot” against the government’s move of demonetisation, Ramesh said that he was “right” to use such terms.

“Today (Thursday) he (Manmohan Singh) spoke not only from his mind but from heart as well,” Ramesh added, saying that the former Prime Minister was right in saying that the country’s economy would suffer bad effects of the demonetisation.

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