New Delhi: Congress today demanded an apology from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for raking up the role of Rajya Sabha in stalling government's reforms agenda, insisting "redefining" Constitution and Parliament cannot be allowed.
"The Finance Minister should retract the statement and apologise. We will not allow under any circumstances redefining of the Constitution and Parliament of India", senior party spokesman Anand Sharma told reporters.
Sharma's remarks came against the backdrop of Jaitley's speech at an event in Mumbai yesterday where he said time has come to debate whether an 'indirectly elected' house can hold reforms passed by the 'directly-elected' Lok Sabha.
With the Rajya Sabha failing to pass the GST Bill in the monsoon session, which was a near washout due to frequent disruptions over Lalitgate and Vyapam issues, the Finance Minister wondered "till what extent can the indirectly-elected House hold reform proposals passed by the directly-elected House which represents will of the people?
"Time has come to debate on this crucial question, to find out a conventional answer to this problem."
Describing the Rajya Sabha as the "first" House, Sharma, Congress's deputy leader there, said Jaitley should realise he was not only a member but also the leader of the House.
"The intention of the government is to have confrontation with the opposition. It has no respect for Constitutional procedures and legislative practices...Important laws cannot be rubberstamped", he said.
Rejecting BJP's criticism of Congress on the issue of disruptions in Parliament, he said that the ruling party has the "dubious distinction of being the global leader in Parliamentary disruptions" while in the opposition.
He dubbed as "undemocratic and unconstitutional" moves to turn bills into money bills so there is no need for their passage in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA does not have a majority.
Accusing the Congress of delaying reforms with its 'obstructionism' in Parliament, Jaitley had taken a dig at 'families' controlling political parties saying less number of businesses are now family-controlled with start-up revolution.