The Congress on Friday asked why a debate was not being allowed in Parliament if the Narendra Modi government had nothing to do with the affairs of the Adanis and why regulatory bodies were not acting even when international agencies had started responding to the allegations.
The Congress is determined to pursue this matter even as a section of Opposition leaders favours using the debate on the motion of thanks to the President’s address to corner the government on the Adani controversy in addition to other burning problems like unemployment, price rise and social discord.
This is the first time since 2014 that the BJP has been completely isolated on an issue. While friendly parties like the Biju Janata Dal have refrained from jumping to Modi’s rescue, the Aam Aadmi Party and K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s BRS are said to be more belligerent on this issue.
Sources said the AAP and the BRS wanted to enforce a parliamentary deadlock for the entire session unless the government agreed to an independent investigation.
Congress strategists want to move cautiously, examining the developments over the next two days before deciding the course of action on Monday morning. Till then, the focus will be on highlighting Modi’s personal relations with Gautam Adani to demolish the government’s line of defence that the Prime Minister is not answerable for the allegations of corporate fraud.
Several ministers today said the government had nothing to do with the Adani group.
But the Congress took care to stress the undeniable personal bond between Modi and Adani. Insisting that Adani enjoyed “patronage” at the highest level, Congress communications chief Jairam Ramesh said: “Parliament adjourned for another day because Opposition demands a JPC on the PMlinked Adani issue that is playing havoc on the savings of crores of Indians. Modi sarkar says MPs are wasting public money. What about the crores people have lost over the last few days of MahaMegaScam?”
Ramesh added: “Only an independent investigation will save LIC, SBI and other institutions forced by the Prime Minister to invest in the Adani Group.”
The Congress highlighted the denial of permission to discuss the critical issue in Parliament through this message on its Twitter h a n d l e : “ T h e re wa s a Parliament… where people’s issues were debated, where the Opposition had the freedom to raise people’s voices, where mikes of Opposition leaders were not switched off.”
It added: “Where Houses were not adjourned out of fear. But this was the case before 2014. Now Modi is scared. That’s why Parliament is shut.”
Another message said: “Modi appears rattled and fearful these days. As if somebody warned him, ‘don’t say anything, otherwise….’ The Opposition is asking for a debate on Adani affairs and Modi is running away. Whose pressure he is facing, who he is scared of ?”
Congress social media chief Supriya Shrinate said: “Financial institutions across the world have started reacting. Dow Jones acted against Adani Group citing grave allegations. Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s brother Joe Johnson, who was a director in Elara Capital which invested in the Adani group, resigned. Credit Suisse and Citigroup have acted. But the Modi government is acting as if nothing has happened. Where is Sebi, SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigation Office), ED?”
Shrinate added: “Modi’s blessings turned Adani very big. He has a monopoly on airports, ports, food & agriculture, godowns, edible oil…. Adani is big enough to ruin the Indian economy. More than 15 lakh crore have been wiped out since January 24. Common people who have invested in other companies are suffering. But the Prime Minister is silent. Who will protect these retail investors as Modi is blinded by friendship?”
Targeting the BJP ecosystem that has sprung up in defence of Adani, Youth Congress president B.V. Srinivas tweeted: “Why is the government running away from a discussion in Parliament? Maalik ke samman mein, saare chowkidar maidan mein (To protect the honour of the boss, all the chowkidars have come out on the field).”