NEW DELHI: A combative Sonia Gandhi today rejected government's offer of Prime Minister's intervention on Lalitgate and Vyapam issues in Parliament to break the impasse, insisting that those responsible for "gross wrong-doings" should first resign.
Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress President said he is conspicuous by his "deafening silence on the blatant transgressions" by his External Affairs Minister and two Chief Ministers. "The champion of 'mann ki baat' appears to have retreated into a "maun vrat", she said while lashing out at the Prime Minister and the BJP at the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) meeting here. The Congress chief said that the party is very clear that there can be "no productive discussion and no meaningful proceedings as long as those responsible for gross wrong-doings remain in office".
"Our stand is straightforward and clear from day one. There is a mountain of incontrovertible evidence in public domain for the Prime Minister to require the resignations of the External Affairs Minister and the two chief ministers," she said ahead of an all-party meeting convened by the government to resolve the two-week long deadlock. Making a strong pitch for "resign first, debate later" line, she wondered whether the BJP has forgotten that it is the "author of the principle which it has used on at least five different occasions since 1993".
She preceded the remark by saying that since memories are short, the party needed to remind its political adversaries who "conveniently are suffering from selective amnesia". "Today, we have to listen to sermons on parliamentary behaviour from those who not only defended but also advocated disruption as a legitimate tactic when they were in the opposition.
"Yesterday's agitators in both the Houses have suddenly become today's champions of debate and discussion," she said. Sonia, who is also Chairperson of the CPP, declared that the Congress will "persist" making its points "forcefully and emphatically" both in Parliament and outside. Just two more weeks are left for the monsoon session to conclude. Seeking to end the impasse, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venlaiah Naidu had said the Prime Minister will be prepared to make an intervention during a debate on the Lalit Modi and Vyapam issues.
Sonia today alleged that the impasse was due to the "gross insensitivity of the Modi government to public opinion, for its absolute silence on acts of monumental corruption, its wilful violations of the law and gross misdemeanours on the part of its leading lights".
When some Congress members displayed their placards in front of Union Minister Mahesh Sharma when he was replying to a question, there were sharp protests from the BJP benches with Mahajan also asking the opposition members not to disturb the Minister.
A peeved Sharma, who is the Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, said he was not able to see the face of the member who was asking the question. He requested the Speaker to ensure that a Minister should be allowed to hear the question first. Mahajan also repeatedly asked the protesting members to put down the placards and even took their names. Earlier, the Speaker rejected notices for adjournment motions on different subjects, including those by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.
With the Speaker rejecting his adjournment motion also, Kharge said despite the subjects being important, she was rejecting such notices every day. When the House assembled, members expressed anguish over death and destruction caused by the floods and cyclone in different parts of the country and stood in silence for a brief while.