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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 July 2024

Shouting BJP stalls Parliament

Even before Parliament had assembled for the day, the government seemed to have set an agenda of renewing its attacks on Rahu

J.P. Yadav New Delhi Published 21.03.23, 03:23 AM
Indian Parliament

Indian Parliament File picture

BJP members stalled parliamentary proceedings with renewed aggression against Rahul Gandhi on Monday, putting under strain home minister Amit Shah’s claim that the government was ready to walk the extra mile to end the logjam.

Shah had during an interview over the weekend said the government was ready to go “two steps ahead” to resolve the standoff if the Opposition took “two steps forward”.

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However, Monday witnessed both Houses of Parliament being stalled for the sixth day in a row. Even before Parliament had assembled for the day, the government seemed to have set an agenda of renewing its attacks on Rahul.

It fielded urban development minister Hardeep Puri to tell reporters in the morning that Rahul must tender an “unambiguous apology” for his Indian-democracy-under-threat remark in the UK.

“He should apologise unambiguously and say that he made a mistake. My understanding is that it will pave the way and facilitate the functioning of Parliament,” Puri said.

BJP members privately said they had been asked to keep shouting slogans against Rahul because the leadership felt that if they climbed down, the Opposition would highlight the Adani-Hindenburg controversy.

“If we stop demanding an apology from Rahul and allow the House to run, the Opposition will block proceedings by raising the Adani issue. Why should we allow them to do so?” a BJP member said.

As the Lok Sabha assembled for the day, government members were on their feet shouting “Rahul Gandhi maafi mango (Rahul Gandhi, apologise)” and “Rahul Gandhi, shame, shame” before the Opposition could resume its demands for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the Adani controversy.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh and transport minister Nitin Gadkari sat quietly in the front row while behind them, BJP members went all out against Rahul, ignoring Speaker Om Birla’s appeals not to shout slogans.

“This House belongs to you all. Come to my chamber and discuss. Let the ruling side and the Opposition sit together and we will find out a way and run the House,” Birla said, appearing to be taking forward the suggestion made by Shah. But the BJP members continued sloganeering, and the Opposition retaliated by demanding a JPC on the Adani-Hindenburg saga.

“If you don’t want… the House (to be run), then the House is adjourned till 2pm,” Birla said.

At 2pm, BJP members resumed sloganeering but this time the Opposition sat quietly, underlining that it was the government side that was blocking Parliament.

After the House was adjourned for the day, Congress House leader Adhir Chowdhury told reporters the Opposition had received no offers from the government for talks to end the deadlock.

He alleged the government was not ready to allow Rahul to speak in the House and was therefore blocking the proceedings. He said the House rules gave Rahul the right to clarify his remarks on Indian democracy.

“Rahul Gandhi is entitled to give an explanation in the House since ministers have tried to tarnish his image,” Adhir said.

In the Rajya Sabha, the government benches’ aggression against Rahul ran into the Opposition’s demand for a JPC on Adani.

“This drama (the BJP stalling proceedings) cannot go on without the sanction of the Prime Minister. All rules have been set aside to help Adani,” Congress member Pramod Tiwari later told reporters.

“We have been demanding a JPC on the biggest scam in Independent India. Why is the BJP scared of a JPC? It is because the JPC will expose the BJP.”

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