From the Gallery: Gaurav Gogoi
Gaurav Gogoi tells Liz Mathew why the Congress insisted Finance Minister Arun Jaitley be present in Lok Sabha when the debate on Finance Bill begins
The Congress has disrupted the proceedings and insisted that Budget debate could not be initiated without the presence of the Finance Minister?
What we were saying today was that we were beginning the debate on Finance Bill… The Lok Sabha has the utmost responsibility and jurisdiction to deliberate on the Bill and raise serious concerns, suggest amendments and cut motions. Parliamentary norms say when the debate on the Finance Bill begins in Parliament, the largest opposition starts the debate in the presence of the Finance Minister.
But the Finance Minister is on an official visit?
As stated by leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, we were not told the Finance Minister will be absent when we were informed that Congress will begin the discussion on the Budget today. It would be a bad precedence and would impact the prestige of the House if we didn’t insist on it. The debate was only for two hours today and was to continue on Monday.
Were there any precedents to this?
The issue is the lack of communication by the government to the largest opposition party.
Do you think the Congress, including party president Sonia Gandhi, did not want to make any compromise due to the hostile approach of the government?
Today, it was a united opposition. When Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said other parties could begin, the TMC said the House should follow the norm and let the largest opposition party begin the debate.
The opposition has been trying to corner the government on technical or procedural grounds rather than political issues. Comment?
The role of the opposition has been, over the past few months, most constructive and it has always worked in the interest of the nation. We saw the successful passage of the Insurance Bill we had agreed upon. Unlike the BJP, which had been a disruptive opposition and did not allow the very same Bill, we are constructive opposition. The opposition in unison strongly objected to the parliamentary norms being overlooked and being bypassed to make laws via ordinance.
Source:: Indian Express