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NDA making false charges: Manmohan

Friday 6 May 2005

Special Correspondent

TDP participates in Parliament proceedings

NEW DELHI: The Government on Thursday reiterated its preparedness to discuss all issues in Parliament and urged the Opposition to end its boycott even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh charged the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) with going back on its words and making false allegations in the memorandum submitted to the President on the impasse.

In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said that accepting the Opposition demand that he write to the Prime Minister would be an "unwarranted exercise of power" of the office he holds. Interventions to this effect were made in both Houses - Dr. Singh in the Rajya Sabha, and Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee in the Lok Sabha - after the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) decided to break ranks with the NDA and participate in the "Parliamentary proceedings under protest."

An hour after the TDP leader in the Rajya Sabha, R. Chandra Sekar Reddy, accused the Government of precipitating the situation, Dr. Singh said the allegation that the House was not allowed to function because of the Government was not borne out by facts.

Dr. Singh said that as soon as the NDA announced the boycott, he called up the Leaders of the Opposition in both Houses, L.K. Advani and Jaswant Singh, and the NDA chairperson, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, requesting them to "end this chapter" and assuring them that all issues could be discussed on the floor of the House. "I was promised - I won’t name the person - by one of the three that they would come for the Finance Bill and thereafter they would decide what they would do."

"Type of language"

Dr. Singh also took exception to the "type of language" used against him in the memorandum submitted to the President.

Stating that false things have been stated, he said: "For example, in that memorandum, our Government has been accused of prevailing upon President Musharraf not to see Mr. Vajpayee. ... This is the length to which the Opposition goes. I think the country should know that between the two - what they say and what they do - there is a world of difference."

"Be serious"

Dr. Singh appealed to the Opposition "to be serious and cooperate with us in conducting the business of the House. This Government is prepared to discuss all issues and there is no issue which, I think, is barred from discussion in the House." A similar appeal was issued to the NDA in the Lok Sabha by Mr. Mukherjee in response to the TDP leader, K. Yerran Naidu’s statement that the Government’s attitude to the Opposition was deplorable.

Earlier, welcoming the TDP’s decision to attend the proceedings and responding to the demand that he write to the Prime Minister, Mr. Chatterjee said: "It will be an unwarranted exercise of the power of the Speaker if he meddles into the political affairs or the political formulations of any party or group of parties and seeks to intervene. ... It would have been an intrusion by the Speaker into an arena which should be left to the political parties to decide and resolve."

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