Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, today reiterated the importance of the House of Elders to keep afloat the voice of Opposition in Parliament at a time when there is a huge majority of the ruling party in Lok Sabha.
“The present Government may say Congress is disrupting the Parliament sessions, but we are doing what an Opposition should do. The present Government is overlooking the concerns of the Opposition in a democracy. It just wants the Rajya Sabha to put its thumb print on any bill that Lok Sabha passes. But the role of Rajya Sabha is to not only to keep in mind the interests of the people but also to keep in mind that of the State.
“Since we are not being listened to in the Lok Sabha, our issues are not accommodated, we are raising them in the Rajya Sabha,” Azad said at Manthan Aaj Tak.
Addressing the session “Sarkar Kitni Asardar?” at the day-long event held in the run up to the completion of one year of the NDA Government, Azad said, “You may say the Lok Sabha members are the direct representatives of voters but the Constitution writers thought of having Rajya Sabha not without thinking. It is constituted by the votes of people elected by the voters. So the RS members have double responsibilities — one towards the voters who elected the MLAs and the other towards the MLAs who elect the RS members.”
Responding to a question on whether Congress has finally found a leader of opposition in Rahul Gandhi who has been able to grab the Government’s attention, be it the farmers’ rights or that of the less empowered, Azad preferred to give the credit to the entire party.
“It is not for the first time the Congress party is in Opposition. Congress wants to send out the message that if we can run a Government, we can also be a responsible opposition.”
On the electoral promise of “Acche Din” to be brought by Modi Sarkar, Azad asked, “When is it coming? Also, is it coming for the people on the street or for I, me myself?” Azad was scathing in his criticism of the last one year of the NDA Government saying, “Be it education, health, development or agriculture, it has cut allocations for all the important sectors.”
On the issue of giving a corruption-free Government in the last year, he retorted, “Don’t judge it only by its one year of performance. “
He particularly mentioned the Land Acquisition Bill backed by his party on the point that it “has certain checks and balances.”
“For instance, if the land is not being used for five years, it should be returned to the farmers. But this Government has raised that time period to ten years.”