New Delhi: All members of the Rajya Sabha should resign if they have any pride left, Congress leader M. Veerappa Moily said in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, slamming the government for undermining the house of elders by bringing in legislation to the lower house as money bills to ensure their passage.
The Congress leader was participating in a debate on four GST bills in the Lok Sabha.
"It is the biggest step in federal law, federal finances. You are a representative of the council of states. Finance Minister, you are denying rights to yourself," Moily said, referring to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, a Rajya Sabha member.
"I think history will definitely reveal what kind of deprivation we are doing to the federal concept of this great nation."
"Today we are happy that there is a big, I won't say brute, majority here. I won't say bulldozing because Mr. Venkaiah Naidu said don't use that word. (There is) Nothing wrong, you have the right, you feel personally you have the right to do it, deprive the Rajya Sabha," the Congress leader said.
"Otherwise what is the point in having council of states, they don't have a voice to demonstrate the assault on the federal structure of the country, If they have some pride all of them should resign according to me. If there is some pride left," he said.
Opposition parties have been accusing the government of trying to bulldoze legislations by making them money bills, leaving no scope for the Rajya Sabha members to bring in amendments or to oppose the bill.
A money bill can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha, and once the lower house passes it, the Rajya Sabha has to return it within 14 days, otherwise the bill is deemed passed in both houses.
The government last year brought a bill related to Aadhaar as a money bill.
Moily, speaking immediately after Jaitley, also said the BJP put hurdles in the way of implementing the GST bill when the UPA was in power, which has led to loss of Rs 12 lakh crore.
"The country has faced around Rs 12 lakh crore loss because of delay in implementing the GST bill. More than seven to eight years have passed... Who is the loser in delaying it? It is the people of the country," Moily said during a discussion on the GST bill in the Lok Sabha.
"In our political gamble, we do not see the interest of the people, who have lost around Rs 1.5 lakh crore as on today on an annual basis," he added.
Moily pointed out that it was the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government which brought in the GST bill.
"This important game-changer enactment was envisioned by the UPA government. It should have been implemented at the time, but some opposition parties then felt that it has to be halted," he added, alluding to the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is in power now.
"It is a transformative reform measure which is unprecedented and historical," Moily said.
"During that time the Finance Committee headed by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha presented a report in 2011. Quite promptly the then UPA government came up with legislation, but it was halted again for reasons best known to the persons who opposed it," he added.