"I can start with an old saying, 'do unto others as you would have wanted them to do to you'... let me assure them that we are not interested in reciprocal harassment," party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi replied when told that the NDA government has said that being the opposition, Congress should cooperate with it when the Parliament session starts.
Accusing BJP of causing "harassment" to UPA-I and UPA-II through "repeated disruptions and loss of valuable parliamentary time", Singhvi said that there is a "heaven and hell difference" between Congress and BJP.
"Unlike BJP, we believe in constructive opposition. We believe in raising issues forcefully, but we do not believe in disruptions. We have to wait and watch... but I can say that our philosophy and our approach in this matter has been vastly different from that of BJP even in the past.
"After all, we were in the opposition from 1998 to 2004 and the record will show the difference of degree and kind at the time," Singhvi said. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today said that the government will go the "extra mile" to accommodate the opposition and is committed to the smooth running of Parliament.
To a question about the statement by Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah that only 'Parsis' were a minority, Singhvi said, "I don't think she said or meant that. Nobody can say only 'X' is a minority." The Congress spokesperson, however, refrained from criticising Heptullah, who was earlier in Congress before joining BJP around a decade back.
"It is still early days. She has said she will come up with a response after a discussion with her Prime Minister and let us wait for that. I think I will give the benefit of doubt to her because it is obviously a wrong statement and therefore cannot be (held to mean) that," Singhvi said.