NEW DELHI: As disruptions rocked the last week of Parliament's Monsoon's session, Government today singled out Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul Gandhi for stalling the House, saying not many of its leaders favoured it and accused them of using the row over Sushma Swaraj as a "pretext" to stop passage of the GST bill.
With Congress continuing to disrupt both the Houses seeking the resignation of Swaraj and two BJP chief ministers, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley ripped into its top leadership for its "stubbornness" and alleged that they wanted India's growth story to suffer by obstructing the GST bill's passage.
Citing a meeting called by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan today to break the logjam, Jaitley said Congress was the only party which opposed any debate and insisted that the House would not run while most opposition parties were for it to function.
"The assessment in the government is that there are not many in even Congress pushing this logic that House should not run. Only their top two leaders... have been stubborn on it.
(They say) Parliament should not function, legislations should not be passed. If there is harm to the country, to the system let it be," the Leader of the Rajya Sabha told reporters.
Attacking Sonia Gandhi, Jaitley said her policies, which "inflicted" on the then UPA government, were "directly responsible" for slowing down the economy. Even when the UPA was in power, economic growth had ceased to be a priority for Congress, he said.
On the GST bill, he said, Congress was "completely isolated".
"Its best endeavour is that since it won't be able to stop the GST it is definitely trying to delay."
Asked about Rahul Gandhi's charge that Lalit Modi had paid money to External Affairs Minister Swaraj's family and she should disclose the transactions, Jaitley said anybody can make such "unfounded" allegations.
Citing Smriti Irani's retort that women and their sons from common families have to toil to earn their living and Gandhi family may be an "exception", Jaitley said the Congress leadership should ponder over it.
"Congress leadership should understand that if these kinds of questions were asked of them, then they may not have any answers," he said and defended Swaraj over Rahul's charge, saying she has had a long political career.
Hitting out at the top Congress brass for the stalling of Parliament, he said the main opposition had taken a "maximalist position" that it would not allow the House to function "under any circumstance".
"We are constrained to observe that the issue of Sushmaji merely a pretext. The real motive of the Congress leadership is that they do not want GST bill to be passed. To stop it is their clear motive. They want India's growth story to suffer and are making a full endeavour in that direction through their distruptionst policy.
"They want that the country should not develop and the boost the bill's passage will give to the economy should not happen. Congress is in a disruptionist mood. Even when the UPA was in power, economic growth had ceased to be a priority for it. Some policies which were inflicted on the government by the Congress president caused the slowdown," he said.
The Finance Minister said Congress was "completely isolated" on the GST bill and numbers were in the favour of its passage.