Lashing out at the Bharatiya Janata Party for stalling parliament, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday asked her party MPs to take it head-on and said blackmail has become the BJP's "bread and butter".
With the government under attack over coal block allocations, Gandhi said at a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party in New Delhi that it was a "matter of shame and regret" that the BJP was not allowing parliament to function.
"Creating confusion in the minds of people and blackmail has become the bread and butter of the BJP, which is a matter of concern even for some of its allies," a Congress insider quoted Gandhi as telling the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting.
She said that disruption has become a day-to-day affair of the BJP, the Congress source told IANS. She also asked MPs to take the BJP head-on by hitting the streets to expose its double-speak.
"When serious issues are affecting the country, it is a matter of shame and regret that parliament is not allowed to function by the BJP, which is absolutely irresponsible," Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi added, quoting Gandhi.
He was speaking to reporters after the meeting.
Gandhi also said that not letting parliament function was the handiwork of one opposition party, particularly the BJP, that had scant respect for democratic values.
The BJP has been disrupting both houses of parliament for the last six days over its insistence that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should resign after the official auditor pointed out irregularities in coal block allocations.
Quoting Gandhi, Dwivedi said: "I have said it many times before and will say it again: The government and prime minister are always prepared for discussion and debate on any issue. The BJP is mocking the people of this country."
Gandhi also hit out at senior BJP leader LK Advani for calling the UPA government "illegitimate".
She noted that the BJP's "our way or no way" method of functioning was "repulsive" and said: "We must fight wrong criticism and negative politics of BJP. We have nothing to hide and we must oppose them."
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari later told reporters that lakhs of party workers would "hit the streets" to expose the BJP "shedding crocodile tears" over the sanctity of constitutional bodies.
"The BJP has been shedding crocodile tears about the sanctity of constitutional institutions. Is parliament not a constitutional institution and their stalling it -- will it not undermine democracy?" Tewari asked the opposition party.
"Under the directions of party chief Sonia Gandhi, lakhs of Congress workers will hit the streets to expose the BJP," he said.
Earlier during the on-going monsoon session of parliament, Gandhi had led from the front to defend her party and government when Advani had called it "illegitimate" during a debate on the Assam ethnic violence and forced the BJP leader to withdraw his remarks.