New Delhi, May 2: There was a good mix of humour and irony in the Lok Sabha on Monday when BJP MP Bhola Singh raised the issue of "pressure" being exerted by corporate houses, especially those in the oil and natural gas business, on all governments including the incumbent one.
Outright denying the charges from the Begusarai lawmaker, union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan asserted that the BJP-led NDA government was not under any pressure.
"We have no compulsions, I want to make it clear. Please remember the country's prime minister is Narendra Modi," Pradhan said.
Responding to the minister's remarks, Bhola Singh said: "I know the country's prime minister is Narendra Modi. But I have faith in you also.
Aaap toh Dharmendra hain, pradhan bhi hain (You are Dharmendra (namesake of well-known yesteryears Bollywood hero), and your name also means chief)".
This threw the house into peals of laughter.
Asking supplementary questions on a number of arbitrations in oil field disputes, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP alleged that "at times it appears even the government wants to live under such pressures from business houses".
Bhola Singh, who had attacked the party's central leadership over its drubbing in the Bihar polls last year, also wanted to know whether the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) has approached the government for resolving oil field disputes with contractors.
Answering him, the minister said that while the present government is not under under any influence or pressure, there have been some such instances in the past under the Congress regime.
"I better not go into details at this juncture," Pradhan said amid protests from Congress floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge.
"The government has enhanced the powers of DGH for hiring of counsels for defending arbitrations," the minister said but maintained that the legal process will take its own time as well.
He said the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has come out with a policy framework for "relaxation, extensions and clarifications" at the development and production stage for early monetization of hydrocarbon discoveries.