Govt, Opp lock horns over debate on Gaza situation

New Delhi, Jul 16: Government and Opposition parties today locked horns over having a debate on the Gaza situation with the ruling NDA alliance maintaining it could impact India's diplomatic ties with Israel and Palestine but Congress -led parties demanded a short duration discussion tomorrow.

After Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day over the issue, Opposition parties met Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha and demanded the discussion. Sources in the Opposition said they would be pressing for a short duration discussion on the issue tomorrow.

Azad issued a statement saying a discussion was accepted by the Rajya Sabha Chairman under rule 176 of Rules of Procedure and a "Short Duration Discussion" was listed in approved business of the House for today after having given notice yesterday.

"General practice is that business of the day is usually decided in consultation with the Government, and we believe that due process was followed in this case also," Azad said. After having a short duration discussion on this important subject listed for today, the government suddenly raised objections to it, and tried to duck the discussion, he said.

Resisting a debate, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said she had come to know late about the listing of the issue in the day's business and had written to Chairman Hamid Ansari, requesting that it should be dropped as "we have diplomatic ties with both nations. Any discourteous reference to any friendly country can impact our relations with them".

Azad, who is also the leader of Opposition in the Upper House, said that relentless persuasion of Opposition failed to cut ice with the government which was unwilling to have discussion on the grave situation prevailing in Gaza and West Bank.

"We want good relations with the entire world and are for peace and stability in West Asia, but we cannot accept the hostile approach of a country towards its neighbours like this. India has always believed in the policy of 'live and let live' and we want to continue with that stance," he said.

He said stability of "West Asia is very important for India" as many Indians are earning their livelihood from this region and therefore, it was necessary to have a discussion on this crucial issue. The notices for the debate, which was listed today, was given by several Opposition members including Azad. Others were Jairam Ramesh, Viplove Thakur (Cong), K C Tyagi (JD-U), Narendra Kumar Kashyap (BSP), Mohd Adeeb (Ind), P Rajeeve, T K Rangarajan and Ritabrata Banerjee (all CPI-M).


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