NEW DELHI: Parliament on Tuesday failed to transact any business as Congress members in both the Houses, guided by a combative Sonia Gandhi, repeatedly disrupted the proceedings, alleging “vendetta politics” — in an apparent reference to the Delhi High Court’s verdict in the National Herald case.
Congress members were in the Well throughout, shouting slogans against the government, even as the Chair in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha kept urging them to spell out the reason for their protest which they did not do explicitly. The government made it clear it cannot be dragged into a legal battle and rubbished the Congress allegations. Both the Houses were repeatedly adjourned before the final adjournment minutes after 3 p.m. as the Congress members were unrelenting in their protest.
Senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad claimed it is ‘painful’ to see the ‘atmosphere of political vendetta’ in the country where the ruling party seems to be going all-out to make an “opposition-free India” ever since it came to power over one-and-a-half-years back.
“During the election campaign, the NDA had given the slogan of ‘Congress-free India’. I thought this was just an election manifesto and once the government is formed, it will work for development. But this government not only wants a Congress-free India, but also wants an Opposition-free India,” he alleged. He said what was happening to the entire Opposition be it Congress, BSP, SP, RJD, JD(U), DMK or AIADMK was painful, and cited how raids were conducted on Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh on a day when he was stepping out of his house for his daughter’s wedding. “There are two sets of law governing political parties, one for the ruling party and the other for the opposition,” he claimed and added, “We need justice, equal justice”.
Rejecting Azad’s allegation, Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “This government has not done any illegal action against anyone.... In case of Congress leaders, it is not the action of the government but that of the judiciary... court has summoned them and not the government. Give your reply to them.” Contending that there was misrepresentation of facts, he said, “The government is ready for any discussion... there are serious allegations on Congress leaders.” Jaitley also said such practices were done by the Congress earlier and the government was ready to discuss this issue immediately as it wanted to place facts before Parliament and the country.
Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha PJ Kurien asked whether the House was ready for discussion to which the Opposition members replied “No”. At this, Naqvi quipped, “let them shout slogans as it is their habit and let them shout for years.” Amid the din, Kurien adjourned the House for the day. Earlier, slogan-shouting Congress members stormed the Well of the Rajya Sabha as soon as it met for the day. They raised slogans like Tanashahi nahi chalegi (dictatorship will not be tolerated). BJP members countered them with slogans like chor machaye shor” (thieves making noise).
Similar scenes were witnessed in the Lok Sabha. As the protests continued, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, “If Sonia Gandhi feels the government has done something against her, then she should say that in the House.”