BJP patriarch LK Advani’s fresh outburst in the Lok Sabha on Thursday over prolonged parliamentary gridlock sparked a blame game between the BJP and Congress, even as Rahul Gandhi said the senior leader was “fighting for democratic values” within his party.
Shortly after an exasperated 89-year-old Advani said on the penultimate day of the winter session the he felt “like resigning”, rival sides sparred over who should take the blame for the virtual washout of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Blaming the Opposition for disruptions in Parliament, information and broadcasting minister and senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said the Congress was adopting “spit and run” tactics to divert attention from the real issues.
“Everybody is sad. The way Parliament is not being allowed to function, every countrymen is sad. We are also sad. But what to do if some people deliberately and continuously not allowing Parliament to function. It is a known fact who is rushing to the Well of the House,” Naidu told reporters outside Parliament.
He was asked to comment on Advani’s remark.
“Being a senior party man, Advaniji is also feeling like that,” Naidu said.
But Congress vice -president Gandhi took to Twitter to latch on to Advani’s remark to target the ruling BJP.
“Thank you Advani ji for fighting for democratic values within your party,” tweeted Gandhi, who had earlier accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being “autocratic”.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said Advani is “clearly berating his own party”, and not Congress, as being “twisted” by BJP.
“Advani is an extremely senior parliamentarian and BJP is deliberately, consciously twisting these things to suggest that his angst and anguish is against Congress. It is ridiculous. Advani is clearly berating his own party. The positive proof is that you have seen today, yesterday and Monday and some other days,” he said.
“How can any party in the world with 323 majority (out of 543) in the Lok Sabha stand up with placards and ask a question, whether it is Agusta (chopper scam) or anything else, before the opposition which is asking for a debate? The vice-president of the Opposition party (Congress) says we are desperate of a debate...and you are clearly avoiding it,” he said.
Advani expressed his anguish soon after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House for the day amid trading of charges between the government and the Opposition on smooth functioning of proceedings.
The veteran BJP parliamentarian, who remained seated in his front seat, first narrated his feelings to Union minister Smriti Irani, who in turn drew the attention of Home Minister Rajnath Singh standing nearby.
Advani was heard telling the home minister to convey to the Speaker that she should ensure the House runs tomorrow to have a discussion on note ban.
The veteran parliamentarian has been seen in a pensive mood in Parliament during this session, unhappy over the frequent disruptions
With noisy protests continuing to stall Parliament, Advani had on December 7 expressed deep distress over the way the Lok Sabha proceedings were being conducted, saying neither the Speaker nor the parliamentary affairs minister was running the House.