NEW DELHI — Members from Opposition and treasury benches had a heated exchange of words in Rajya Sabha today over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks abroad, forcing three adjournments in the pre-lunch session. The PM had said on foreign soil that he wanted to "clean the dirt of 60 years" in India.
Rejecting the Opposition charge that Modi was "lowering the dignity" of the country by making such remarks abroad, Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Prime Minister was "perfectly entitled" to say that his government will break away from what happened in last 60 years and give a clean government.
He also took potshots at both Janata Dal (United) and CPI(M) wondering whether they thought that India is not defamed by "acts of corruption" but by referring to those acts.
Congress Deputy Leader Anand Sharma raised the issue through a notice for suspension of business under rule 267 to discuss Modi's remarks in Germany and Canada alleging that the Prime Minister lowered the prestige and dignity of the country, a contention which was supported by members from other Opposition parties including Sharad Yadav of JD-U.
Vehemently countering the charge, Jaitley while he can understand the Congress benches getting upset with the talk of cleaning up corruption, he was surprised at the remarks of JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav and those of the CPI-M leaders.
"I am surprised with this new-found dialectics of the morals of the CPI-M. According to this new ideology ...India is not defamed by acts of corruption. India is defamed only when you refer to the acts of corruption," he said.
Jaitley said "the member (Anand Sharma) and others must realise that in today's technology whether you discuss the scam in India or outside in Berlin, internet will take it everywhere in the world. The satellite will take it everywhere. So even if you discuss it here, people all over the world will see it.
"So don't be touchy about the fact that it is not discussed here and it is discussed outside."
Taking a dig at Yadav, he said he wanted to remind him that all socialist leaders of the country used to attack the then Congress government on "violation of human rights" whenever they visited abroad.
"The leaders whose legacy you represent had campaigned against it in the whole world...I am surprised all those who were with us on the issue of corruption since the '60s are now bothered why are we discussing the issue," Jaitley said.
He said the government was ready for a debate on the issue as the discussion will naturally entail a discussion on all "scams" that happened in last sixty years.
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien rejected the demand for suspension of Question Hour saying members could discuss the issue under other available procedures.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government was ready to discuss all scams in the past 60 years, for which they should give notice.
"Their's has been a government full of scams for past 60 years and we are ready to discuss all scams," he said.