Joshi differs with Jaitley, says Rajya Sabha powers shouldn?t be curbed

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The Hindu Business Line, November 23, 2015

Ahead of Parliament?s Winter Session, senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi has underlined that the Rajya Sabha is ?Parliament in perpetuity? and that any suggestion to dilute its powers lacks ?Constitutional validity?.

The BJP veteran, who is also the Chairman of the Estimates Committee, struck a different note from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who had objected to the ?wisdom? of a ?directly-elected House (the Lok Sabha)? being questioned by an ?indirectly-elected House (the Rajya Sabha)?. Joshi asserted that the Rajya Sabha too was an elected House.

?In any case, the question is not whether it is a directly or indirectly elected House. The position is that the Rajya Sabha is Parliament in perpetuity. It is rajyon ki sabha ? that is, the Council of States. It has deliberative and federal functions with regard to the Concurrent List. The Constitution makes no distinction between the two Houses, their power and privileges,? Joshi said on the sidelines of a Diwali Milan he hosted at his residence on Monday.

At the end of the Budget Session this year, Jaitley had said: ?I can understand [that] in a bicameral House, once in a while, an indirectly-elected House questioning the wisdom of a directly-elected House?but it can?t happen Bill after Bill, session after session. It?s a serious question in a parliamentary democracy wherein the wisdom of a directly-elected House is questioned by the indirectly-elected House. And, therefore, if (Article) 110 provides an answer to it, that?s a Constitutional remedy for such a situation.?

Parleys with RSS honchos

Joshi also announced his plans to go to Nagpur to address an RSS function this weekend. ?I am leaving on November 27 to deliver two lectures on November 28,? said Joshi. However, he refused to say whether his parleys with the RSS leaders would include questions he and other veteran BJP leaders like LK Advani, Yashwant Sinha and Shanta Kumar had raised in the aftermath of the BJP?s defeat in the Bihar Assembly elections.

Joshi is among the four veterans along with LK Advani, Yashwant Sinha and Shanta Kumar to have demanded that accountability be fixed for the BJP?s defeat in the Bihar Assembly elections. In a strongly-worded statement a day before Diwali, the veterans had asserted that the BJP had had been ?emasculated? in the last one year and was being ?forced to kow-tow to a handful?.

Conciliation?

The party leadership, has decided to not join issue with the elders and adopted a policy of ?non-confrontation?. Subsequently, Advani adopted a more conciliatory tone, saying that the government was on the right track to fulfil its promise of ?achche din?.

?I believe that the whole system takes its own time. Since the government is going in the right direction, I believe that the results will also be good,? Advani had said in Ahmedabad on Sunday. To a query on how he sees this election turning out for the ruling party after the Bihar drubbing, Advani said the BJP had put extra effort to ensure that they win civic body polls. ?I can say that consciousness of our party has increased (after the Bihar result). All efforts were made here to see that the result comes in our favour. And these efforts will be certainly reflect in the result,? he said.

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