Congress should end "tit for tat" approach and allow the Parliament to function for the remaining four sittings following the clarification by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Lalit Modi issue, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today said.
Countering opposition attack over "undemocratic action" against 25 Congress MPs, the Parliamentary Affairs minister said the government was always ready to back revocation of their suspension but Congress was unwilling to return to the House.
He, however, defended the action and said the Speaker should have acted "much earlier" against the placard waving MPs, as it was her responsibility to ensure proper functioning of the House.
Responding to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's remarks calling the suspension of her party MPs a "black day", Naidu questioned, "but where were the white days during the current session?".
"Do not hurt national interest, do not obstruct the progress of the country. This is my earnest request.
"I would expect Shrimati Sonia Gandhi to seriously ponder over the issue after the clarification of Sushma ji and enable proper functioning of the Parliament for at least the remaining four sittings," he said.
The Union minister stressed that he was talking to various leaders in this regard and also spoke to senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikharjuna Kharge yesterday.
"The government was always willing to move a motion as required under the Rules of the House for revoking the suspension of the Congress Members from the Lok Sabha if only they were willing to assure the Speaker of their cooperation in smooth functioning of the House," he said, adding that the Congress was not willing to return to the House.
"An untenable situation is prevailing in Parliament. Congress is not concerned about political propriety but only keen about winning a political trophy...
"A placard waving Congress, bent on disrupting proceedings deserved suspension from the House... Speaker should have acted much earlier since it is her responsibility to ensure proper functioning of the House," Naidu said.
Swaraj said in Lok Sabha yesterday that she had not helped Lalit but his cancer-stricken wife and questioned if Sonia Gandhi would have acted differently if faced with such a situation.
"His wife has been suffering from cancer for the last 17 years and it is the 10th time it has recurred... I want to ask what Sonia Gandhi would have done had she been in my place. Would she have left her to die?" Swaraj said.
Naidu also appealed to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to "seriously" introspect and return to Lok Sabha and allow normal functioning of Parliament after Swaraj has clarified her role in the matter of travel documents to Lalit Modi.
The minister said that had Swaraj been allowed to present her version in Parliament on the very first day of this session, the issue may have been resolved much earlier.
He said that Rajya Sabha saw order in the House for about just five minutes yesterday when the Home Minister was allowed to make a statement on the terrorist attack in Jammu region.
"It would have been better if it had been stretched longer for a detailed discussion to convey to the people that Parliament was united on issues of national security," Naidu said.
Naidu expressed concern over the turn of events leading to the stalemate in Parliament, saying Parliamentary democracy in the country is at "cross roads" with the ruling alliance with a two-third majority in Lok Sabha not being allowed to enable legislations on important issues.
"Congress may be talking of gains for it from the suspension and the present stalemate in Parliament and by seeking to put spanners in the functioning of Government, but it should realise that it is actually hurting itself and the interests of the country and its people.
"The approach of sacrificing one's two eyes for one of the rival is not wise. It is time the tit for tat approach is brought to an end and Parliament is allowed to function," he said.
Noting that almost three weeks of this Monsoon session have been adversely affected by the obstructionism, Naidu questioned, "What are the reasons and the consequences? The kind of twisted tactics being adopted by the Congress kill democracy. What was the justification for enforcing such a stalemate in Parliament?.
"A Minister was denied an opportunity to present her view on the baseless, absurd allegations made against her. All this due to juvenile politics.
"Congress is not at all interested in the gains of its disruptive strategy. It is more interested in the damage that it can inflict on the Modi government. As long as it could hurt the Modi Government, Congress is happy. What it means is that to damage one eye of its opponent, Congress is ready to sacrifice its two eyes," he said.
Reading contents from various newspapers on the present state of affairs in Parliament, Naidu said they are only representative samples of widespread concern being voiced every day since the beginning of this session.
He said that the government was keen about suspended Congress MPs returning to the House and was willing to persuade the Speaker.
"But the broad question is whether the Congress is willing to return to the House and willing to be persuaded to allow the house to function?," he said.