New Delhi (PTI): External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will make a statement in both Houses of Parliament today on her two-day visit to Pakistan and the recent developments relating to bilateral ties.
“I will make a statement on my recent visit to Islamabad tomorrow at 11 am in Rajya Sabha and at 2 pm in Lok Sabha,” Swaraj tweeted yesterday.
A Parliamentary Affairs Ministry release said that Swaraj will make a statement on her recent visit to Islamabad and developments relating to ties between India and Pakistan in both the Houses of Parliament during the next week of Winter session.
“This is one of the major agenda items for next week,” the statement said.
Breaking the logjam in their ties, India and Pakistan had on December 9 announced in Islamabad that they have decided to engage in a “comprehensive” dialogue that will include peace and security and Jammu and Kashmir.
Capping a series of positive developments since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif met in Paris about a fortnight days ago, it was announced there that the Foreign Secretaries will meet to decide the modalities and schedule of the dialogue.
The two sides came out with a joint statement, which happened after Swaraj met Sharif and later his Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz there on the concluding day of her two-day visit (December 8-9).
She was in Pakistan to attend a multilateral conference on Afghanistan.
Chidambaram rejected suggestions that the National Herald case had caused embarrassment for the party, but said “It has caused us some concern about the motives of this government and those who are supporting the government. It simply stiffened our back to fight the government.”
“We wanted GST, they played petty games. We say you’ve distorted GST, they cry wolf. We’ve not changed. Nor have they,” tweeted party’s communication department chief Randeep Surjewala.
“National Herald case is a clear case of political vendetta by PM Narendra Modi against Congress,” said former Union Minister Kapil Sibal.
On the charge that the government was targeting opposition leaders including Congress Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Virbhadra Singh, Jaitley dared the main opposition party to debate the issue in Parliament.
“Let us have a debate on each of these cases they are mentioning. These cases are stinking… Let us have a debate in Parliament tomorrow,” he said, adding the government had agreed to their wording for a debate in Parliament on the Lalit Modi controvesy.
“Let it be identically worded as was the debate on Raje and Swaraj. We agreed to that. Language was theirs. Let us just substitute those names and let us have a debate in Parliament tomorrow,” Jaitley said.
On the GST, he said, “The three suggestions they have made go contrary to what Chidambaram and Pranab Mukherjee had presented before Parliament. Those three suggestions are contrary to what Chidambaram signed on the file. These are contrary to what their Chief Ministers had said in Parliamentary panel.
“They are clearly afterthoughts in order to delay the GST. I have no doubt in my mind,” he said.
“What will be our response on these three issues, I have already conveyed to senior responsible people in Congress party…my suggestions are in consonance with their own proposals. If they go back on their proposals then I can’t help it,” Jaitley said.
Chidambaram said the concerns raised by Congress are genuine and the report of Arvind Subramanian, the Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India “broadly endorses the Congress party concerns”.
He also said till the government responds to Congress’ suggestions, the party cannot say by which date the bill will be a reality.
Notwisthanding the suspense over the issue, the government has decided to make a fresh bid to pass the GST and real estate bills in the last week of the winter session.
While six bills each have been introduced and passed in Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha has passed only one bill.
10 Bills passed by Lok Sabha are still to be taken up by Rajya Sabha. In the Lok Sabha, the government has proposed to take up nine items of legislative and financial business during next week.