New Delhi, Aug. 28: Sonia Gandhi today waded into a full-fledged battle in which the BJP was singled out, saying “blackmail” has become its “political bread and butter, much to the concern of even some of its allies”.
“This attitude of our-way-or-no-way makes a mockery of the vision of our founding fathers and of the constitutional framework they so painstakingly built for us,” the Congress president told her party’s MPs, referring to parliamentary paralysis over coal allotments.
Sonia’s belligerence suggested that the government had given up on this session. A Congress leader said the BJP had left no room for compromise by sticking to its demand for the Prime Minister’s scalp and vitiating the atmosphere by fielding as senior a figure as the leader of Opposition to spring phrases like “mota maal” (hefty kickbacks) without furnishing evidence.
The Congress leaders explained Sonia was left with no option but to go full throttle as a show of restraint would have been construed as a sense of guilt and demoralised the party workers.
The Congress has managed to isolate the BJP as other Opposition parties expressed willingness to debate on the coal controversy in Parliament. Sonia’s reference to “much to the concern of allies” was made against this backdrop.
Addressing the Congress Party in Parliament (CPP) this morning, Sonia hammered home the point that the BJP stood alone among a cluster of over 30 parties. Only the BJP wanted Parliament shut at a time the country is grappling with drought and floods, an economic downturn and ethnic violence in Assam.
“It is a matter of regret, of even shame, that Parliament is not being allowed to function and fulfil its proper constitutional role and duty. This is the handiwork of just one party — the BJP,” Sonia said.
“This once again shows up the scant respect it has for democratic values. What else can we conclude when its senior-most leader refers to our government as ‘illegitimate’, thereby mocking the people of India for the convincing mandate they have given us?”
Sonia said: “The government and the Prime Minister are always prepared for a debate on any issue, on any CAG report, or, any perceived shortcoming on their part. But, the proper forum is an active and involved Parliament, not one that is held to ransom by blackmail which has become the political bread and butter of the BJP, much to the concern of even some of its allies.”
Describing the attack on Manmohan Singh as “politically motivated”, she said the statement made by him yesterday exposed the BJP’s propaganda.
Sonia touched upon the economy and underscored the need for evolving a consensus. “Many economic policies require a larger political understanding and agreement both within the UPA and with other parties. We are striving sincerely for this consensus both within and outside the UPA,” she said.