Parliament worked better under Vajpayee: Sonia

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Parliament worked better under Vajpayee: Sonia

Mumbai : There is no spirit of accommodation towards the opposition under the Modi government and Parliament worked in a much more positive way when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi said on Friday.

"The present situation is such that there is no accommodative spirit... It is our right, it is right of opposition. We worked very well when Prime Minister Vajpayee was there," Gandhi said.

She was answering a query at the India Today conclave about the disruptions by the opposition in Parliament.Gandhi, who earlier delivered a speech, alleged that her party was being sidelined by the government and was not being allowed to speak on the multi-crore PNB fraud.

"When you have a genuine issue to discuss, you follow all the procedure, (but) we are just sidelined. We are not allowed to discuss. At times we have agreed to the suggestions of the government...

"The last two-three days we wanted to discuss the (PNB bank) fraud. It is an issue which is agitating people. We are simply not being allowed to speak," she said. 

Answering another query, Gandhi said her party had raised slogans during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech during the reply on the motion of thanks to the President's address as her party leader was prevented from speaking the previous day. 

Asked how the present acrimony will end, she said: "It cannot be fixed with the way the present government is running Parliament.

"It is impossible because they are not willing to allow us to speak. What is Parliament for? I am aware that people at large are constantly angry with the Congress because they feel we are shouting, making noise. But there is a very serious reason for it. Parliamentary rules are not followed."

She said now BJP allies including the TDP, the TRS and the Shiv Sena were also going near the Speaker's podium and shouting slogans. "Unless something major happens, I don't see much improvement in the situation." 

Gandhi said Vajpayee had great respect for parliamentary procedure. "And the then speaker was what a speaker ought to be. You got to hear both sides," she said. Asked about her views on Modi as a person, Gandhi said she did not know him. 

"I don't know him. I don't know the person. We see him in Parliament or occasionally at functions but I can't say I know him," she said. 

She said the Congress was also in opposition during the Vajpayee government. "We were bitter opponents. But we functioned well. Of course there were disagreements at times but on whole it was much more positive way. There was give and take, there were compromises when it came to debate." 

Referring to CAG reports on alleged Gujarat State Petroleum Corp scam, she said her party was not allowed to speak on the issue in Parliament.