Stormy Monsoon Session ends, key legislations delayed; war of words between BJP, Congress continues
Both houses of parliament were adjourned sine die on Thursday after 23 days of acrimony, but the war of words continued, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching a scathing attack on the Congress and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi daring Modi to extradite former IPL chief Lalit Modi.
New Delhi: Both houses of parliament were adjourned sine die on Thursday after 23 days of acrimony, but the war of words continued, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching a scathing attack on the Congress and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi daring Modi to extradite former IPL chief Lalit Modi.
On the last day of a wasted session that began on July 21, the Congress staged yet another walkout from the Lok Sabha demanding the resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for helping Lalit Modi to secure travel documents in Britain.
The Rajya Sabha was calm on Thursday after many days. It was adjourned after three outgoing members, including H.K. Dua, called for an end to the recurring paralysis of parliament in their farewell speeches.
The government has kept open the option of reconvening the monsoon session. The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs met and decided not to recommend its proroguing.
No sooner after the houses were adjourned, leaders of the BJP and its allies took out a "Save Democracy" march to denounce what they called was a Congress-induced parliament logjam.
Among those who marched from Vijay Chowk to Mahatma Gandhi's statue in parliament complex were BJP stalwart L.K. Advani, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Prime Minister Modi, who came to the Lok Sabha just before it was adjourned, came down heavily on the Congress when he later addressed MPs from the BJP and its allies.
He called the conduct of Congress MPs, who despite their fewer numbers virtually crippled the Lok Sabha, with the Emergency era of 1975-77 when democratic rights were curbed.
"He said the way the Congress behaved during Emergency, it behaved in parliament - by creating obstruction," Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy quoted Modi as saying.
Modi also referred to the boycott of NITI Aayog meeting by Congress chief ministers and the critical remarks of Congress leaders after the Naga peace pact.
The prime minister said that Congress politics was oriented towards "saving a family", and he told NDA MPs to hold protests in constituencies represented by Congress and Left MPs over a month.
Modi's aggression had no impact on the Congress, whose vice president Rahul Gandhi took potshots at the prime minister.
"After the (Lok Sabha) election, I thought he (Modi) was a strong guy. But now I think he is not," he said, before heading to join a protest by Congress members against the government.
He dared Modi to extradite Lalit Modi, who is sought by the Enforcement Directorate.
"Let him bring back Lalit Modi and clear all the scam in cricket," Gandhi told the media. Modi, he said, had "no guts".
"I am here to defend this country from the RSS, I am here to defend this country from Narendra Modi.
"I want to tell Modiji that the youth is slowly understanding the nexus (between black money and the political system)."
Finance Minister Jaitley also slammed the Congress leadership, saying it was not able to digest its Lok Sabha rout.
Hitting out at Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, Jaitley said: "They cannot digest anyone outside the Nehru-Gandhi family ruling the country."
The Congress vowed not to be silent over Lalit Modi.
"If the minister (Sushma Swaraj) thinks the questions will go away, they will not. We will continue to raise them and demand answers," said party leader P. Chidambaram.
The monsoon session was a washout due to opposition protests, mainly over Sushma Swaraj and the Vyapam recruitment scandal in Madhya Pradesh.
No significant business was conducted, except clearing the supplementary demands for grants relating to the general budget and railways. Key legislation including the GST bill could not be passed by the Rajya Sabha.
On Thursday, a dejected Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said she did her best to resolve the deadlock in the house but in vain.