New Delhi: Bolstered by support from most opposition parties, Congress on Tuesday took to the streets to mount a frontal attack on the Narendra Modi government over the suspension of its 25 MPs, terming it as "murder of democracy" and demanding that Prime Minister hear the "voice of the country".
Leading the assault from the front, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul Gandhi, sat on a dharna in the Parliament House complex, shouted slogans and declared that the campaign for resignation of BJP leaders will continue even if all its members are "thrown out of Parliament".
"Suspension of our MPs is anti-democratic. Democracy is being murdered," said Sonia, as she, in a rare occurrence, raised slogans along with top party leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, AK Antony and Anand Sharma against the Speaker's decision. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also present.
"We will not budge from our stand and there will be no let up in our pressure (on government) as far as issues of corruption, Sushma Swaraj and Vyapam are concerned," Rahul told reporters, making clear the party's intent to carry on with its belligerent posture on the issue of resignations of top BJP leaders accused of wrongdoing.
"Vyapam scam has destroyed future of 1000s in MP. There is clear evidence that Sushmaji has broken the law. Clear evidence that Rajasthan CM (Vasundhara Raje) directly involved financially with Lalit Modi," he said.
Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's on the issue, the Congress leader took a swipe at him, saying though he made his voice heard through his radio programme 'Mann ki Baat', he was not prepared to listen to the "voice of the country".
"I am not asking for their resignation, the Congress is not asking for their resignation but the people of India are asking for their resignation.
"I am only trying to explain to the PM the voice of the people of the country. The Prime Minister has the habit of making his voice heard (Mann ki Baat), let him listen to the voice of the country," he said.
"Down with Narendra Modi! We want justice! Shame on you dictator!" chanted the agitated Congress MPs as they sat near the Mahatma Gandhi's statue, wearing black arm bands as a mark of protest.
Leaders of other opposition parties like Samajwadi Party and RJD too joined them in the protest.
The decision by Lok Sabha Speaker is "unlawful", SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said, as he asked her to reconsider it.
In a rare show of unity, besides the Congress, MPs of the Trinamool Congress and NCP boycotted Lok Sabha proceedings and those of the Left, SP and RJD walked out soon after the House met.