Modi talks of consensus, not of consultation, says Congress

August 16, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for consensus among all parties in the running of the government yesterday evoked mixed reactions, with the Congress alleging that denial of leader of opposition post to the party proved there was a gap between what he said and what he practised.

“Many things which he is saying are not being practised in parliament. He is not giving due respect or recognition to rival political parties and there is no consultation with them. This is evident in the government’s reluctance to give the leader of opposition post to the Congress,” K V Thomas, party MP from Ernakulam, said.

Congress’ ally in Maharashtra, the Nationalist Congress Party, however, welcomed Modi’s initiative. NCP leader D P Tripathi said Modi was trying to reach out to opposition parties.

“They are trying to reach out, it is not a rhetoric. We are in opposition to Modi, but if he is trying to do something good, we should welcome it,” Tripathi, Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra, said.

In his Independence Day address, Modi said his government wanted to move ahead on the basis of consensus and not majority in parliament. “We are not the people who want to run the government on the basis of majority. We want to move ahead on the firm ground of agreement,” Modi said after hoisting the tricolour from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort inthe national capital.

When asked about this change of stand on part of Modi, who had focused his election speeches on Congress-free-India, BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was a positive message on India’s 68th Independence Day.

“Congress and corruption had become synonymous with each other, and so there was a need for Congress-free India. But now if the opposition parties are willing to play a positive and creative role, there is no harm in taking them along,” Naqvi said.

BJD (Biju Janata Dal) MP Tathagata Satpathy, who described Modi’s speech as lacking in “imagination” and “depth of thought”, said consensus was the very basis of democracy. “There is no imagination or depth of thought... That is what I felt about his (Modi’s) speech.”