The Congress tried to clear the air over its protests in both houses saying it had nothing to do with the National Heralds case, and accused the government of trying to create wrong perception against it, even as Rajya Sabha was adjourned for fourth day in row. In Lok Sabha, the Congress staged a walkout over “offensive” remarks by a BJP MP against them.
As the fate of GST Bill still seems uncertain, finance minister Arun Jaitley reportedly discussed the legislation with the Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma in this regard. Congress leaders said they were waiting for the final proposal from the government on the issue.
“We want the government to talk to all parties about the changes in the bill. When we will also express our views then. We want the GST bill, the government has to respond with proposal,” Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said
Congress is likely to hold meeting of its senior leaders on Sunday where the issue of GST and on continuing protests in the parliament will be discussed. “We will discuss our strategy in the meeting, and then take a call. We made it clear in Rajya Sabha today that our protests were not on National Heralds case,” a senior Congress Rajya Sabha MP told Express.
But with the National Heralds case’s next hearing on December 19 where Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will be asked to be present, even the government sources were not much hopeful of GST Bill in current session.
The acrimony between the opposition and the treasury benches has ensured that session was heading for a washout.
Earlier during the day after forcing several adjournments over “vendetta politics”, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said "from the government side, it has been presented that Congress is not allowing Parliament to function due to the National Herald case. Stalling of Parliament is not related to the National Herald case in court. This is the impression created. I have clarified earlier."
Azad said proceedings were stalled for two days due to the 'dog' remark by Union Minister V K Singh. "The proceeding were stalled later for three days and the reasons are different."
Reacting to Azad’s clarification Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Muktar Abbas Naqvi said best way to dispel this perception was to attend the house. The deputy chairman PJ Kurian also said he was adjourning the house on a positive note, hoping that house would function normally from Monday.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi alleged in Guwahati that the case was "driven by the Prime Minister's office".
IN Lok Sabha, the Congress continued with its protests in the Lok Sabha against the "defamatory" comments of a BJP member against its leaders and staged a walkout, along with Trinamool, RJD and JD(U), after their demand for an apology from him drew no assurance from either the Speaker or government. Congress members stormed the Well as soon as the House assembled for the day and began raising slogans against the government. They had also displayed some placards.
BJP MP Virendra Singh, whose comments had riled the Congress refused to apologise.
Escalating attack on the Congress over the National Herald case, the BJP has brought out a booklet titled 'Family Greed and National Blackmail' that aims to "inform" its party leaders about the issue.
The booklet will be distribute booklet among its MPs and leaders cross the country to "inform" them on the issue.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will make a statement in Parliament on December 14 on the recent developments in India-Pakistan relations. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy informed the Lok Sabha that Swaraj is ready and would make a statement on Monday.