New Delhi: On the eve of all-party meet, a war of words erupted today with the government charging the opposition with "negativism" and "obstructionism" while the Congress hit back by questioning the sincerity of the ruling side to break the logjam in Parliament.
With half of the Monsoon session virtually washed out, the government said the "honourable exit" for the Congress would be to have a debate on the issue concerning External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's "help" to Lalit Modi.
Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who addressed a press conference at BJP headquarters, however, made it clear that the Vyapam scam of Madhya Pradesh, in which Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is under attack, cannot be discussed at all as it concerns a state.
The government has convened an all-party meeting tomorrow to discuss ways to end the stalemate in Parliament.
Attack Congress, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the party may be upset with the government for "political reasons" but it must "accept and seriously introspect" that "negativism" and its "obstructionist tendencies" would hurt the country and the economy.
His attack in a facebook post came in the context of the ambitious Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill which is among the reform measures stuck as Parliament is unable to function because of relentless opposition demand for resignation of Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in Lalit Modi and ouster of Chouhan over Vyapam scam.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu also ruled out any resignation and maintained that there can be a debate in which the opposition can express its views.
He insisted that neither Swaraj nor Raje had done anything illegal or unethical that they should resign. Raje was not even Chief Minister at that time, he added.
"We want to accommodate the opposition... Let us have a discussion... If they want to express their point of view, we are ready," Naidu said.
Reacting sharply, Congress leader Anand Sharma said, "the unwarranted, uncharitable and provocative statement by the Finance Minister and BJP, accussing Congress of disruption makes it abundantly clear that the government is neither serious nor sincere in breaking the deadlock in Parliament.