PC, Jaitley and Sibal light up House

PC, Jaitley and Sibal light up House

 The trio summoned all their oratorical skills and excelled in their repartee as they sought to tear apart the contention of their rivals. As the Congress fielded its two ministers and the BJP brought in the Opposition Leader in the Rajya Sabha, sparks flew. If it was tit-for-tat between Jaitley and Chidambaram in the Rajya Sabha, it was Sibal who lifted the level of debate in the Lok Sabha.

As the trio dissected the WikiLeaks cable on the bribery charges, the sting operation which showed that three BJP MPs were bribed and the Parliamentary Committee’s probe report on it, it was a lesson and a treat for any student of law or young Parliamentarians. In the Upper House, Jaitley and Chidambaram tried their best to be one up against the other and excel. In the Lok Sabha, Sibal had no lawyer-competitor and revelled in a solo performance. 

Jaitley was seen to be running away with the debate as the Upper House heard him with rapt attention but the home minister took the battle to the Opposition tearing into the BJP leader’s combative points.

In the Lower House, Sibal picked holes in Opposition Leader Sushma Swaraj’s arguments with ease, silenced albeit for a while the BJP benches as he spoke of the WikiLeaks expose on Advani saying the BJP’s vote against trust motion was for domestic audience.

In his speech, Chidambaram said the investigations and forensic test into the CD were in final stages. He added that the allegation that a political party engineered the sting operation would also be probed. As he was frequently interrupted by the Opposition, Chidambaram pointed at the latest revelations that the sting operation by a TV channel was not an independent journalistic exercise but a “deliberate attempt in collaboration with a political party.”

On the prime minister’s comment that there was no conclusive evidence by the parliamentary committee, which probed the issue, that votes were purchased for the trust vote, Chidambaram and Jaitely clashed frequently. As Jaitely said the government was looking for “targets” (among MPs to bribe), Chidambaram said the BJP indulged in “turning UPA’s majority into a minority.”

If Jaitley criticised the prime minister for suggesting that the people have answered the BJP charge in the UPA electoral victory, the home minister sought to demolish that argument saying, “This was a deliberate attempt to destabilise a sitting government.” At one point Jaitley accused Chidambaram of covering up while the latter said he was not an investigating officer. “Police owes its obedience to law...to no man,” the home minister quipped.

In the Lok Sabha, Sibal left BJP veteran L K Advani and Swaraj virtually speechless as he asked Advani to come out with the truth on his remarks quoted in WikiLeaks. He quoted Jaswant Singh’s remark that Advani was at the “centre of this whole drama” (referring to cash for vote).