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Govt launches counter-attack, terms Opp protest in Par over China border row “unfortunate”

New Delhi: The government on Friday launched a counter-attack against the Opposition for disrupting parliamentary proceedings, demanding a discussion on the China border row, and said it was “unfortunate and uncalled for” since the Congress-led UPA dispensation had taken a similar stand on such issues.

Speaking to reporters, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said the UPA government in July 2013 and January 2014 had refused to accept a request from opposition parties for a discussion on China, citing the sensitivity of the matter.

“It is unfortunate and uncalled for that the opposition disrupted Parliament on this issue. When in power they had not allowed a discussion on the issue,” Joshi asserted.

On July 24, 2013, the UPA government turned down a request for Short Duration Discussion under Rule 193 moved by BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi and 10 other MPs on the subject of “violation of the Line of Control by Chinese and Pakistani army”, the minister said.

They (UPA) said the discussion involves a sensitive issue involving India’s relations with its two neighbours, specifically in the context of our boundary negotiations with China, Joshi noted.

A debate on this issue in Parliament would adversely impact India’s position and adversely impact our relations with Pakistan, both of which would not be in our national interest, he said, citing the then official position.

Similarly, BJP’s Prakash Javadekar on January 22, 2014, moved a Calling Attention Notice under Rule 180 in Rajya Sabha, seeking a discussion on Chinese incursion bids in both the eastern as well as the western sectors, Joshi said.

The UPA government again reiterated its stand and maintained that it will not be desirable to discuss this specific issue on the floor of Parliament, he said, adding that then External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had endorsed both positions.

The Opposition has disrupted the last few days of Parliament’s winter session, which ended on Friday, seeking a discussion on the alleged Chinese transgressions on the border, a demand turned down by the government due to the issue’s sensitivity.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar have spoken on the issue in detail, the government has noted.

Giving a lowdown on the session, Joshi said Lok Sabha’s productivity was 97 per cent and Rajya Sabha’s 103 per cent during the session.

With the session being cut short six days before the schedule, Joshi said all party leaders are on record, making such a demand in view of Christmas and New Year celebrations.

The Business Advisory Committee, which sets the agenda for both the House, took a unanimous decision to curtail the session, he said.

Parliament had 13 sittings, with nine bills introduced in Lok Sabha and seven passed while Rajya Sabha passed nine bills.

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