New Delhi, Jun 24 (PTI) The Congress on Wednesday accused the government of hiding behind rules to escape parliamentary oversight and demanded that a session be held soon to answer key queries of opposition parties.
'This government has walked the extra mile to hide behind rules, to escape parliamentary oversight. This is nothing short of the emasculation of Parliament,' Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said at a virtual press conference.
'Unfortunately, presiding officers of both the Houses should have walked the extra mile to prevail upon the government, not should try to subvert Parliament in this manner and escape parliamentary oversight,' he also said.
His colleague and party spokesperson Gaurav Gogoi said a country like Nepal has passed a bill that reorganizes the boundary between India and Nepal, with all the resources and might.
Citing the government's experience of having conducted a bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart, he said, 'Surely we can have a special session of Parliament to discuss important issues, keeping in mind both social distancing and the importance of national security'.
'It is a sign of authoritarianism and only an effort by the BJP government to buy time so that it can escape the questions which have been asked by the people of India through the major opposition parties,' Gogoi alleged.
Tewari also said it is extremely unfortunate and regretful that while one can have a Russia, India, China trilateral summit virtually, the G-20 can be held and an all-party meeting on China can be held virtually, 'why can't this government hold a virtual session of Parliament'.
He said parliaments are meeting virtually around the world and cited examples of Great Britain and Portugal.
He wondered why the standing committee on defence, the consultative committee on defence and the standing committee on health have not met virtually.
Opposition members, especially from the Congress, have been demanding a Parliament session to discuss key issues confronting the country like the coronavirus pandemic and the 'Chinese intrusions into India at Ladakh'.
To a question on BJP president JP Nadda's 'dynast attack' on Rahul Gandhi, Tewari said it is the same BJP which 'did not consider India's foreign policy and strategic interests as a Holy Cow'.
'Those people, who are accusing the Opposition of being anti-national for raising valid questions when the government has put its head in the sand like an ostrich, should reflect on their conduct between 2004 and 2014.
'If the prime minister does not want the Opposition to ask him any question, he should issue a public apology for the behaviour of his party between 2004 and 2014 when they were in the Opposition,' he said.
Gogoi said the 'BJP would do a better job of running the government if it listened and heeded Rahul Gandhi's advice instead of attacking him personally'.
'Instead of criticizing us, the BJP would do a better job if they took Rahul Gandhi's advice,' he said. PTI SKC CK