Session ends, Blame game in Parliament
The rift between the Opposition and the government only widened as the Monsoon Session of Parliament ended with acrimony on Thursday.
Senior leaders from both sides launched personal attacks, and National Democratic Alliance MPs took out a march — a rarity for a ruling alliance — from Vijay Chowk to the Gandhi statue on the Parliament House premises to counter an Opposition protest.
In another rarity, Trinamool Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist) MPs were seen on the same side when they joined a Congress-led protest at the Gandhi statue against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not attending Parliament. MPs from other Left parties and the Samajwadi Party joined the demonstration. The two protests in the same area, with each side blaming the other for the poor output of the session, were held only minutes apart.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack on Mr. Modi, who, at the NDA meeting, spoke against the Congress for trying to “save one family”. Mr. Modi was briefly in the Lok Sabha on Thursday before it was adjourned. Mr. Gandhi charged that the Prime Minister “lacks guts”. He charged the BJP with trying to target his father “for 30 years”, though the judicial system had cleared him.
The Congress is learnt to have written to the Speaker seeking that the remarks made against the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in her speech be expunged. Mr. Gandhi said the former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi was the “biggest link” between the political system, black money and corruption in cricket.
Mr. Gandhi said Ms. Swaraj had sidestepped the questions asked of her in her “long speech yesterday [Wednesday, in Parliament]”. His party colleagues Mallikarjun Kharge and P. Chidambaram reiterated the charge. The two sides indulged in a protracted blame game over stalling of Parliament. The CPI(M) said the washout was a result of the government’s “arrogance and obduracy”. The NDA passed a resolution blaming the Congress. “The government filibustered the Monsoon Session and is blaming the Opposition for it,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said. He said the government did not want either the Goods and Services Tax or the land acquisition Bills to pass in this session due to political expediency.
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