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Name the lobbying MPs, BJP asks Ramesh


New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday called on Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh to name the MPs who had met him or his ministry’s officials to lobby for or against a project, following his letter to presiding officers of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha seeking their intervention.

In a statement, BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said that Ramesh had in the letters raised an issue of ethics related to his own department where he has called the actions of certain MPs as objectionable and blatant violation of norms and has requested the presiding officers to intervene in the matter.

“The contents of the letter are in fact very disturbing. Mr. Jairam Ramesh has castigated the Members of Parliament who come lobbying for various companies and groups or for the industries in which these MPs have a stake. But in doing so, Mr. Ramesh has cast an aspersion on the entire lot of parliamentarians while he has also attempted to state that there are others who are not in it. He has even gone to the extent of stating that he has tried to discourage them,” Rudy said referring to Ramesh’s letters.

Rudy said the minister had written that there were MPs who have been putting pressure on his ministry and even directly approached officials and virtually coerced them.

“While parliamentary practices do entail seeking information from the concerned ministry through various parliamentary procedures and also references for issues within or outside their parliamentary constituencies, which cannot be denied to MPs, it is also noted that the minister does enjoy the privilege to accept or decline recommendations or requests. However, the issue which has been raised now has major ramifications and is not just confined to parliamentary practices,” Rudy said.

The BJP leader said that since Ramesh has raised the issue without specifying the names of MPs who have been pressurising his ministry, he has cast virtual aspersions on all MPs.

“It’s a matter of privilege for every member to know these ‘so called Members of Parliament’, the political party to which they belong and the projects they have been lobbying about. It is not just a matter of ethics but also a matter of breach of privilege of MPs. Mr. Jairam Ramesh cannot be ambiguous on issues relating to MPs. Moreover, it is not a matter between the Minister and the Hon’ble Speaker. Rather it is an issue which deserves full transparency and the people of the country have every right to know about it,” he said.

“In the interest of parliamentary dignity, Jairam Ramesh must instantly spell out the names and other details of the issues in the larger public interest,” he said.