The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Congress back on boycott path

New Delhi, Aug. 21: For the Congress, what was witnessed in the Lok Sabha on Monday was an exception to the decision, not a sign of its reversal.

So the party today rejoined the Left parties and the Rashtriya Janata Dal with its spokesperson Satyavrata Chaturvedi formally announcing that the boycott of defence minister George Fernandes in Parliament will continue.

On Monday, when Fernandes intervened to speak for the government against Opposition leader Sonia Gandhi’s no-trust move, Congress members sat through his speech, though their counterparts from the Left parties and the RJD walked out as they have been doing for over last 18 months.

Congress leaders had explained their move by saying that the party could not walk out on its own motion.

Chaturvedi asserted that the answers they were seeking from the government, in particular from Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Fernandes, on the minister’s reinduction and several defence-related issues Sonia had raised had not come in the House debate on the no-trust motion.

“Until we get a convincing response from the Prime Minister over his decision to re-induct George, the boycott will continue,” he said.

The party will go before the people’s court with the very questions it had posed to Vajpayee and Fernandes, Chaturvedi added.

The spokesperson also replied in the negative when asked whether the government had approached the party with any proposal to end the Opposition’s boycott of the Upper House till the end of the monsoon session tomorrow.

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