New Delhi: The AgustaWestland chopper deal will be taken up for discussion in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. It had its echo in the Upper House on Tuesday with the Bharatiya Janata Party demanding a discussion on the issue but the government agreed to have it on Wednesday. "We are ready for a discussion on the issue tomorrow (Wednesday)," Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said after the BJP insisted on an immediate discussion on the issue.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, BJP MP Prakash Javadekar said, "The whole nation is being robbed. Everyday we are reading such stories. There are reports that kickbacks to the tune of Rs 400 crore were paid...It's a shame. It is a question of nation's pride." Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said the government should agree to a debate on a particular day, preferably on Wednesday on the issue, after which Shukla said the Defence Minister wanted some more time as more details on the issue were awaited and suggested a discussion by next week.
As the BJP members including Venkaiah Naidu, Najma Heptulla and Ravi Shankar Prasad disagreed and were up on their feet demanding immediate discussion on the chopper deal and Defence Minister AK Antony's response on it, Shukla said a debate on farmers problems was slated for tomorrow on Naidu's demand and if he agreed to change it government can discuss the chopper deal on Wednesday itself.
The BJP had on Tuesday demanded a discussion in the Rajya Sabha over the issue but the Congress suggested to have it on Wednesday.
EMS Natchiappan, who was in the chair, told members that there were other issues mentioned during Zero Hour, on which the members insisted Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajiv Shukla to respond. "Government is ready to have a discussion on it at any point of time. I had discussed the issue with the Defence Minister, he is ready for it next week. In case the members want to take up the issue tomorrow, we are ready," Shukla said.
On this, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "We want proper answers tomorrow (Wednesday)". SP members also rose on their feet with Naresh Agarwal saying that they had given a notice for taking up the issue of price rise soon after the Question Hour. "The price rise issue has not been taken up for discussion despite notice which amounts breaking of the rules and as a protest we are walking out from the House," Agarwal said and staged a walk out with SP members despite Natchiappan saying that the issue too would be taken up.
(With additional information from PTI)