Venkaiah accuses Congress of running away from chopper deal debate

New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) The government on Monday charged the opposition Congress with running away from debate on the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal and said the entire exercise by the Congress party to raise the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) mismanagement issue in the Rajya Sabha was a diversionary tactic.

“The Congress is running away from debate and so raising such issues,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu told reporters in parliament premises after the Rajya Sabha was disrupted thrice over the issue of alleged mismanagement in the GSPC during the tenure of Narendra Modi as chief minister in the western state.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders feel the move to raise the GSPC issue has been part of Congress strategy as they feel “nervous” about the debate on the chopper deal that has put the Congress top leadership at the receiving end.

The stand-off over the AgustaWestland deal seems to have magnified as the Congress has threatened to launch a ‘march to parliament’ stir on May 6.

The Congress members in Rajya Sabha remained determined to have a debate on the irregularities at the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) as pointed out in a Comptroller and Auditor General report.

The government side maintained that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Gujarat assembly will separately examine this.

The treasury bench claimed it is in favour of a debate on the AgustaWestland VVIP deal in Rajya Sabha probably on May 4.

Naidu also said as the Congress does not have any convincing argument to make during the debate on the chopper deal, it is trying to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“They are only trying to divert focus from AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal,” he said.

At the Congress briefing, party leader Jairam Ramesh said: “If Venkaiah Naidu has made the statement as reported, we will not allow the house to function.”

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