Congress members repeatedly disrupted both the Houses ensuring that at least the Rajya Sabha, where Congress members outnumber that of the ruling alliance, couldn’t transact any business.
The Congress, supported by the Trinamool Congress, on Wednesday disrupted parliamentary proceedings for the second day in succession over what Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi termed ‘100 per cent political vendetta coming out of the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office)’.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu accused the Congress of trying to convert a family problem into a national issue by misusing Parliament and stalling the development of the country because its leadership was rattled after the Delhi High Court refused to exempt them from personal appearance in the National Herald case.
With little likelihood of a rapprochement between the government and the Congress, the disruptions are likely to continue for the remainder of the winter session that concludes on December 23.
This would also dash the hope that the Rajya Sabha might pass the goods and services tax Constitution amendment Bill in the ongoing session.
The day started on a pleasant note with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu wishing Congress President Sonia Gandhi on her 69th birthday.
However, Congress members repeatedly disrupted both the Houses ensuring that at least the Rajya Sabha, where Congress members outnumber that of the ruling alliance, couldn’t transact any business.
Trinamool, some of whose leaders are facing probe for the Saradha scam, supported Congress protests.
Biju Janata Dal joined the protest to raise its voice against the Polavaram dam.
But the Samajwadi Party said Congress-led governments have harassed their leaders in the past.
The SP’s apparent support to the government came days after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had offered to align with the Congress for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections if the Congress agreed that party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav would be the prime minister and Rahul Gandhi the deputy PM.
The Congress vice-president rejected Naidu’s charge that the Congress was using Parliamentary disruption to threaten judiciary.
"It is the other way round. Who is threatening judiciary. . . We all know," he said outside Parliament. Amid the protests, the Lok Sabha passed by voice vote a Bill to amend the ‘archaic’ Indian Trusts Act, 1882, which will provide greater autonomy to trustees and allow them to invest trust funds in securities notified by the government.
Later, Naidu told MPs of the ruling coalition that the National Democratic Alliance will campaign against the Congress leadership after the winter session.
“Seeking to convert a family problem into a national issue and misusing Parliament for family interests is the biggest threat to democracy and the Congress should take responsibility for this,” Naidu said.
He said a top Congress leader was against passing of the GST Bill.
While Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad revived the attack on Bharatiya Janata Party Chief Ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh, a BJP delegation met President Pranab Mukherjee seeking removal of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who is being probed by CBI, Enforcement Directorate and IT department over graft charges.
In the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge raised the issue of investigating agencies probing Congress Gujarat leader Shankersinh Vaghela and the Himachal CM but sparing their own.
Naidu reacted with how the United Progressive Alliance got current BJP President Amit Shah arrested in 2010.
In Guwahati, Assam CM Tarun Gogoi accused the BJP of creating law and order problems in the state to engineer imposition of President’s Rule.
In Delhi, a local court on Wednesday put on trial Congress leader Jagdish Tytler and businessman Abhishek Verma for prime facie dishonestly faking a letter to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by then Minister of State for Home Ajay Maken in 2009 to obtain favours from a private firm.
The image is used for representational purpose only. Photograph: Reuters