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BJP's boycott is a diversionary tactic, says Sonia
May 11, 2005 13:35 IST
Congress president Sonia Gandhi today said the boycott of Parliament by the Bharatiya Janata Party was an attempt to sidetrack its internal dissensions and disarray to issues that have no substantive content.
Gandhi made the charge while addressing the general body meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party.
Gandhi, who is chairperson of the CPP, said if it was not the case, why did the BJP not accept the prime minister's offer to discuss any of the issues agitating them.
"Our legislative accomplishments would have been more satisfying had the NDA been present. As you all know, the prime minister went out of his way to talk to the National Democratic Alliance leadership individually to persuade them to end their boycott," she told the meet attended by members of Parliament from both the Houses.
"But for whatever reason, they chose to stay away. They kept inventing one excuse after another to justify their boycott," Gandhi said.
"Worse,", the United Parliamentary Alliance chairperson said the Opposition tried to justify its action by spreading canards against the prime minister, and that too in an extremely crude and offensive manner.
Defending the prime minister, she said not even his most bitter critic can accuse him of being 'arrogant, subjective or inconsiderate'. "Yet, this is what the BJP has done. All of you must explain to your constituents how parliamentary democracy has been subverted so blatantly by those who often talked of maryada.
Referring to the CAG report on the disinvestment of two hotels in Mumbai by the NDA government, she said it confirmed the party's stand that they have been done in the "most non-transparent manner, which caused substantial losses to the government".
"I am sure the government will take appropriate follow-up action," she added.
Gandhi said the "brazen manner" in which the Phukan commission of inquiry into the Tehelka scam was sought to be influenced by those under investigation also came to light late in the session and has "vindicated our position."
The UPA chairperson said a number of Bills have been passed during the session, including the Right to Information Bill that demonstrated the Congress party's commitment to transparency in administration at all levels.
"This historic legislation will provide people with a powerful tool to demand accountability from central and state governments as well as from panchayats," she said.
"Unfortunately," she said, because of the Opposition's boycott, the Standing Committee's report on the historic Rural Employment Guarantee Act, a key pledge of the UPA government, was not received. "Else, we would have passed the Act," Gandhi said.