Conversion row: Agree to disagree is the beauty of democracy says Venkaiah Naidu to hostile opposition

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Conversion row: Agree to disagree is the beauty of democracy says Venkaiah Naidu to hostile opposition

Criticising the opposition for stalling the house on the conversion issue, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday asserted that the government cannot be made to accept what the opposition wants, and added that agreeing to disagree is the beauty of democracy.

"We urge upon the opposition even to realise now, now that the debate has been admitted by the Chair, please join the debate, let us discuss it and then move forward. Whatever you want you can say during the debate, whatever the government want to respond we will respond during the discussion that is the end of it. You cannot make us to accept what you want, that is not democracy. Agree to disagree is the beauty of democracy, that is the essence of democracy ," Naidu told mediapersons here after the Rajya Sabha was adjourned till tomorrow following uproar over conversion issue.

Criticising the opposition for disrupting the house he said the government will not be dictated by the opposition's demands.

"When there is a need then only the Prime Minister will speak. We won't go by the dictation of the opposition.... the Chairperson has made it clear; it's a collective responsibility, there are well established norms, rules and regulations where it is clearly said that concerned minister, even if the minister is not there, a union minister or some other minister also can depute for him," Naidu said.

"There have been number of rulings during the Congress regime. So that being the case how can they insist.......will they disown the past. After their request the Prime Minister came to the house and made a general statement, he disapproved the conduct of the minister and made a general statement. After that also they started raising queries, they did not allow the house to function for three full days. What is the guarantee that they will allow again. So, they are just trying to find some excuse, they went to a situation, they don't know how to come back...," he added.

Naidu further charged the opposition of taking political advantage on the issue of religious conversion. "My point is there is no tension outside, they want to create commotion and then want to take political advantage. We don't want it to happen. We are willing for a free and frank in depth discussion on whatever issue they want to bring to the house," he said.

"We have discussed in the lower house, what is the problem of discussing in the upper house also but they are confused, they are divided they don't have any proper co-ordination within their party, or among the opposition parties and they tried to show anger against the government. Now the opposition is totally exposed...they just want to take political advantage," he added. Criticising the government on religious conversions, the opposition parties demanded a statement from Prime Minister Modi, who was present in the Rajya Sabha.

Earlier in the day, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the Rajya Sabha is not being able to function due to the arrogance of the opposition parties. "The government has no intention of being arrogant; we want this house to function. The fact is that one house is functioning properly and the other is not allowed to function, means it's arrogance of numbers and not the government," said Jaitley.

The opposition had stalled proceedings in the Rajya Sabha earlier on Thursday over a repeated demand that Prime Minister Modi be called to the Upper House to make a statement on the conversion row that has hogged national headlines for the past few days. Last week, around 200 people were reportedly converted to Hinduism in a ceremony in Agra by groups linked to the BJP's ideological mentor RSS.

The Bajrang Dal and the Dharam Jagran Manch, the groups that performed the mass conversions, reportedly claimed that the families were originally Hindus and converted to Islam around 30 years ago. 

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