New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday brushed aside Congress’s threats to stall the monsoon session of parliament over the Lalit Modi controversy, saying it would project the opposition as “anti-growth”.
The Congress was quick to react, saying his comments showed the BJP-led government’s “zero tolerance for probity and accountability”.
The Congress has been demanding the resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje from their posts for helping “fugitive” Lalit Modi, a former chief of the Indian Premier League.
Jaitley told the media after a cabinet meeting that “the bills (to amend the Land Acquisition Act, and introduce the Goods and Services Tax) were very crucial for (the country’s) development and I hope no political party takes anti-growth and anti-development position”.
“There is a lot of importance of these bills to the country’s economy…the government is hopeful that no political party will adopt a negative approach on the issue of nation’s development,” the finance minister said.
Jaitley was replying to a question on the possibility of the monsoon session getting washed out over the Congress demand for resignations of Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje.
The finance minister, however, did not give a direct reply to a question on Lalit Modi naming politicians, including him, on his Twitter account.
“Some people may be of relevance to television channels, (but) they have no relevance as far as the government of India is concerned,” he quipped.
Senior Congress leader P.C. Chako said Jaitley’s statement that Lalit Modi was an issue for only television showed that the Narendra Modi government has “zero respect” for probity and accountability in public life.
“These are not issues which can be brushed aside easily. The people of India need an answer and the Congress will not let the government off the hook so easily. We will not allow this government to go scot-free,” he said.
Asked about Jaitley’s comments that stalling parliament would be taken as “anti-growth”, Chako said the Congress course of action would be decided by the government’s reaction to the demands raised by the opposition party.
Chako said the issuance of travel documents to “fugitive” Lalit Modi and his job offer to the external affairs minister’s husband Swaraj Kaushal were not the issues that could be brushed aside.