Govt. on the offensive against Congress
A day after Leader of the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley?s overtures to the Opposition failed as it boycotted a meeting he called, the Modi government decided to raise the pitch against the Congress on Friday, the fourth consecutive day of Parliament transacting no business.
The government held out a threat to expose more Congress leaders, even members of the Gandhi family, involved in financial scandals.
The tone was set in the morning when, in an unprecedented act, BJP members staged a protest against the stalling of Parliament by the Opposition for the resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
Holding placards questioning the silence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi over corruption in the Congress-ruled States, they staged a sit-in near the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the precincts of Parliament House. Both Houses were adjourned till Monday.
The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the entire day barely three minutes into the proceedings on Friday.
As soon as the House assembled, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan announced she had received a bunch of adjournment motions on different issues ranging from the Vyapam scam to the National Judicial Accountability Commission from Opposition MPs, but the motions were not admitted.
As Congress MPs rose to shout ?We want justice?, the Speaker said, ?If you don?t want to participate or discuss [so be it]?, and adjourned the House to meet on Monday.
Later, several Opposition leaders alleged that the government was not keen on running Parliament as it felt that any long discussions in the two Houses that dwelt on the Lalit Modi controversy and the Vyapam scam would dent the BJP?s prospects in Bihar.
Meanwhile, the prime movers, the Congress and the CPI(M), found support from Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, who said, ?First action, which means resignations, and then we can have the discussions.?
Criticising BJP MPs for sitting on a protest inside the Parliament House complex, she said: ?Instead of sitting on protests, they should run the House,? a sentiment expressed by a large number of Opposition parties. The BSP chief?s statement came at a time when the BJP appeared hopeful of driving a wedge in the Opposition ranks.
?The ruling party holding a protest and the BJP sitting at the feet of [Mahatma] Gandhi is a double irony,? CPI national secretary D. Raja said. He said the Opposition remained one in its demand despite lack of coordination efforts.
?Why is the ruling party sitting on a dharna? Who are they making their demands to? Are they making their demands to god,? Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav asked.
Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi came down heavily on the government for refusing to break its silence on the Vyapam scam. ?They say they are willing to have a discussion but Vyapam has not even found a mention yet,? he said. ?Can you imagine any country in which there are 40 deaths in one State and the Prime Minister doesn?t speak??