New Delhi, March 8: With key bills stuck in Parliament, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday, March 8 reached out to opposition asking them to shed "disruptive" politics and sought their cooperation while countering Rahul Gandhi's attack over issues related to JNU, intolerance, inflation and foreign policy.
Responding to attack on JNU row, he said the government has nothing against a "particular student", an apparent reference to student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, but asserted that free speech cannot be allowed to be used to advocate break-up of the country.
"I expect mainstream political parties like Congress to be in the forefront of being against these people. Please don't do anything that lends respectability to such people," he said. He also talked about the present NPA crisis in banks, saying it was "not a big crisis but certainly a challenge" and questioned why the previous government did not take steps to avert the situation.
Intervening in the debate on Motion of Thanks to President's Address in Rajya Sabha, Jaitley rejected Rahul Gandhi's charge that the government has "given away" the benefits of previous years on Pakistan, saying "We are compelling Pakistan for first time to own up that attack in India is taking place from their land." To hit back, he attacked previous UPA government by raking up the 'Sharm el-Sheikh' episode, saying "you agreed to hold talks with Pakistan irrespective of whether terrorism stops or not."
In his 45-minute speech, Jaitley said, "This is the time when we don't need obstructive democracy. Our approach will have to be to work together. This is the spirit with which this government needs to function." Reacting to charges made by Rahul Gandhi on various issues, including the government not passing the benefit of reduction in crude oil prices to consumers, Jaitley took a dig at the Congress Vice President, saying the "most dangerous calculation is the one done at the back of an envelope".
He told the Congress benches in the Upper House, of which Rahul is not a member, that "somebody has convinced your leader (Rahul) to do all accounting on the back of an envelope". Rahul is a member of Lok Sabha.
Defending the decision of not passing the entire benefit of reducing oil prices to consumers, the Finance Minister said while a major part has been passed on to consumers, some has been given to loss-making oil companies and part invested in infrastructure-creation especially in rural areas.