Highlights of the Press briefing Held at 1645 Hours 06.08.2014
Shri Abhishek Singhvi addressed the media today.
Shri Abhishek Singhvi said communal violence, communal riot and communal harmony different facets of the same issue are vital for a diverse, melting plot whatever you call but that is the essence of India. I am not going into the merits of the issue. All we were saying in the Lower House today time and again was that this is far too vital an issue for the national secular fabric not to be discussed in detail in the House. As I said without going to the merits, we have pointed out that almost 600 communal incidents i.e. amazing figure in less than 10-11 weeks of the new government taking over have occurred. It is not a question that they have occurred in ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’ place. According to us an atmosphere an ambience is created to facilitate to invoke, to provoke and to create a situation where these things happen. In fact in the very few number of constituencies going to the bye-polls and this gives you an idea what forces are working.In 12-15 constituencies going to the bye polls – almost 400 of these 600 incidents have occurred. That is an amazing figure, it is a terrible figure. Now I may be wrong, you may be right, you may be wrong, I may be right, the real issue is does it not deserve emergent urgent comprehensive sensitive discussion in the House? According to us Yes, according to us our demand is something which is most reasonable. Unfortunately and we hate to say this but we are forced to say it and the Congress Vice President said it – this legitimate and reasonable demand is being ridden roughshod day in and day out. Today what happened was most unfortunate and unprecedented. We asked for this, we were told to wait, first we were told for question hour, after question hour, during zero hour, we were told that it would not be taken up now, we will see, we will look into, we will have a Business Advisory on it. Matters of such urgency and when we went into the well of the House to demand discussion or a short adjournment to meet the parties in the chamber, it was denied for the first half an hour of the question hour and I am forced to say that when just thereafter in the House, we believe the Hon’ble Prime Minister who was in the House sent a chit that he had to leave, the House was adjourned for 10-15 minutes to enable him to leave. We, therefore, believe it is not the question of an individual, we believe that institutionally the Speaker is obliged to hold the scales even especially on issue based discussion like this. I can understand that you can say let the question hour go on, we will have it at the end of the question hour. I can understand you say that the first issue in zero hour, we will take it up. I can understand that after half an hour after zero hour, but first you push it from question hour to end of question hour, then you push it to end of zero hour, then you say that we will see it later and Business Advisory will see it. I think this is absolutely insensitive to the gravity of the issue we are raising. It is not holding the scales even because you cannot act immediately on the demands of the one section of the House and indefinitely delay the demand of the other section of the House. Therefore, we had no option but to make our voice and presence felt in the Well of the House. We are the biggest upholders of parliamentary continuity and non disruption but I would like to quote to you the words of the present leader of the Upper House – the Defence and Finance Minister in an interview given to a channel CNN-IBN some months just before the elections and I would like to quote the question and the answer. Mr. Sardesai asked this question – as we look back at this parliament have we reached the stage now where entire sessions are being disrupted where question hour have been disrupted, is this going to be the new parliamentary practice? Mr. Arun Jatiley’s answer, then Opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha, was “You see some obstructionism can be a part of parliamentary practice not frequent obstructionism. I personally don’t like obstructionism but parliament being used as a forum in more than one way to expose the weakness of the government is a positive development and to that extent I think we have done well in this parliament”. Of course, we are no match for the rate, the frequency the number of time, the quantum, the duration of the disruption, we are far-far behind but when something as important vital and sensitive as communal harmony violence 600 incidents in less than 10 to 12 weeks happen in this country, I don’t think Lok Sabha, Parliament, Congress party or for that matter anybody can or should be a mute spectator.
On the question of the Mr. Arun Jaitley’s reaction on Shri Rahul Gandhi’s outburst in the Lok Sabha today, Shri Singhvi said we are very happy and proud that Mr. Jaitley is taking first of all so much interest in our party. Secondly that he has a special thermometer and barometer to gauge what he calls contrived aggression, the degree of aggression. I think it has become standard practice for the BJP to mouth opaque inanities whenever Mr. Rahul Gandhi speaks or does something. I think it does not reflect of Mr. Rahul Gandhi. It reflects on their serious insecurity about him and it is for them to answer. I think when Mr. Jaitley commanded his team as a leader of opposition to obstruct, to oppose, and to speak up; he did not think it is contrived aggression. When he gave this interview to Mr. Sardesai where he talked of obstructionism on relevant issues being part of parliamentary practice and approving and approbating it, he did not think it as contrived aggression, then why should he apply double standards only to the Congress.
To another question on the National Herald case, Shri Singhvi said I am quite happy to announce to you that after detailed arguments over two days – yesterday and today – the Hon’ble High Court has given an interim stay of the summoning order issued by the Magistrate which required the presence of six accused tomorrow. This interim order is purely an interim order and has been given today evening and the rest of the matter principally the complainant’s arguments will be heard in the High Court on the 13th of August. I am not here to enter into a discussion with you on the merits. As a responsible party and responsible Counsel, we do not intend to pre judge matters and comment on the merits. I can only in two sentence summarize the essence of the contention on behalf of the accused Congress President, Congress Vice President , Treasurer and so on and so forth which is that none of the ingredients – not one of the ingredients of the offences alleged namely cheating or breach of trust, not one of the ingredients has been made out, this is what we argued and we tried to demonstrate to the learned Judge that these ingredients include the necessity of showing entrustment of property, deception of summon, misappropriation for one’s own use of some property, deriving benefits of the property – not one of which is made out even on the complaint as put and that is all that we argued till now. Dr. Swamy is the complainant and is entitled to argue next week and we will tell you more then.
Shri Singhvi made an announcement that the Hon’ble Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi has approved the election of Shri Roji M John as National President of the National Students Union of India – the NSUI.
Going back to what happened in Lok Sabha today when Shri Rahul Gandhi raised his voice; Shri Singhvi said if he sits in parliament, you complain, if he does something in parliament, you complain, how I can answer your question.
To another question on the latest situation on the Insurance Bill, Shri Singhvi said you will have to ask the government. As of today I have nothing to report from Rajya Sabha and nothing has happened in Lok Sabha. I think the government has to decide. It takes 30 seconds for them to agree to our demand which is not unreasonable demand. We are not rejecting the Bill. We are asking for a Select Committee reference. Our stand remains the same.