Sonia Gandhi and Arun Jaitley on Monday clashed over the delay in convening the winter session of Parliament with the Congress chief accusing the Modi government of sabotaging it on "flimsy grounds" and the union minister saying Congress had done so too in the past.
Hitting back at Gandhi, Jaitley also said that rescheduling of Parliament sessions has happened several times before during election time. Assembly polls are due to be held in Gujarat in two phases on December 9 and 14.
The winter session of Parliament usually starts in the third week of November and lasts till the third week of December. According to sources, the government is considering a truncated winter session of around 10 days starting from the second week of December.
"The Modi-government in its arrogance has cast a dark shadow on India's Parliamentary democracy by sabotaging the winter session of Parliament on flimsy grounds," Gandhi said in her address at the meeting of the Congress Working Committee in Delhi.
Refuting Gandhi's charge, Jaitley said Parliament sessions were often rescheduled to ensure they did not overlap with elections, and that the Congress had itself done so several times.
Jaitley said the opposition party when in power had also delayed a session in 2011 and even earlier because the sittings coincided with election campaigns.
"It has been a tradition and it has happened several times that Parliament sessions are rescheduled when an election is happening," he told reporters in Rajkot.
He also said the session would be held for sure and that the Congress will be "totally exposed".
"The Congress has given the most corrupt government in its ten years of rule, while Narendra Modi has given the most honest government. By forcibly saying that a truth is a lie does not make it a lie," Jaitley said.
"(The) timing is decided such that they do not overlap with election campaigns. (Congress) did so in 2011, and even before that," the senior BJP leader said, adding, "Parliament session will be held for sure and on all subjects, and the Congress will be totally exposed."
IMAGE: Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi with other leaders at the Congress Working Committee meeting in New Delhi on Monday. Photograph: Courtesy @INCIndia/Twitter