New Delhi: Leading the counter-offensive on the coal block allocation issue, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday hit out at the BJP saying the main opposition party was holding Parliament to ransom.
The BJP has scant respect for Parliament; it is mocking the people of India, Gandhi told the general body meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party this morning.
Saying “we have nothing to hide or to be defensive about”, the Congress president told her party MPs to go on the offensive and give a strong response to the BJP which has not allowed Parliament to function since last Tuesday over the coal block allocation issue.
As media was not allowed inside the meeting venue, sources quoted Gandhi as saying: “We must effectively rebut the charges. We should take up the issue and go to the people.”
She reiterated that the Congress was ready for fight the negative politics of BJP.
“Holding Parliament to ransom and blackmail have become political bread and butter of BJP,” Gandhi said, adding “the govt and the PM are prepared for debate and discussion on any issue, on any CAG report”.
The general body meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party was the first occasion for Gandhi to interact with party MPs after the controversy broke out.
Her address came shortly before PM Singh leaves for Iran for a four-day trip to attend the NAM Summit.
While interacting with a group of party leaders last week, Gandhi had signalled to partymen to be on the offensive against the BJP which has been sticking to its demand for the resignation of the Prime Minister.
Gandhi's address is expected to form the basis of the party's counterattack in Parliament on Tuesday, as several party MPs are planning to give notices in the Lok Sabha for a discussion on the issue under Rule 193, which does not entail voting.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal last evening held a special briefing for party MPs and Union ministers on the issue, apparently as part of Congress plans to corner the Opposition on the issue and puncture their criticism.
It is learnt RJD's Lalu Prasad, Samajwadi Party's Shailendra Kumar, CPI(M)'s Ramchandra Dome and BJD's B Mahtab have given notices in this regard.
First Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2012, 09:11