The BJP on Tuesday paralysed proceedings in both the Houses of Parliament launching a direct attack on Robert Vadra, the businessman son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, over his alleged involvement in illegal land deals.
The BJP MPs raised slogans alleging that Congress governments in Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi bent rules to help Vadra, 44, reap rich profits through multiple land deals. The party also demanded a Supreme Court-monitored special investigation team (SIT) probe, but it was shot down.
As the issue led to repeated adjournments in both the Houses, the Bahujan Samaj Party and bitter rival the Samajwadi Party, who support the UPA from outside, defended the Congress chief, saying she couldn't be held responsible for the alleged wrongdoings of a relation.
In the Lok Sabha, senior BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha raked up the issue but without naming Vadra.
"There are several business schools in the world which teach models of making money. In our country, there is one highly connected person who did not go to any such school but has given a model where no investment is made but windfall gains of thousands of crores are made," he said.
The remarks were protested loudly by the treasury benches, with parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath and his deputy Rajeev Shukla leading the charge.
Similar scenes were witnessed in the Rajya Sabha. The chair disallowed any reference to the issue but the BJP members insisted on raising it, leading to a shouting match with the ruling side.
A combative government and the Congress outrightly rejected the BJP demand. Information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari made it clear that the issue would not be raised in Parliament.
"It is unfortunate and inappropriate that the BJP is dragging a private individual into unnecessary controversy. An individual cannot be discussed in Parliament. This is BJP's cheap politics," he said.
The Vadra land issue was not within the purview of Parliament, Congress spokesman Sandeep Dikshit said. There were a large numbers of forums available in the country and the BJP was welcome to go anywhere.
"If he (Sinha) feels, he can go to the court. Nobody is stopping him or anybody else from either approaching the court or the government of Haryana," he said.
The ruling side also got a breather with both the BSP and SP saying that the Congress president should not be dragged into the controversy.
"If someone does something wrong, his or her relations should not be punished. On allegations against Robert Vadra, how can Sonia Gandhi be held responsible," BSP chief Mayawati said.
SP leader Naresh Aggarwal said the BJP was "politicising" a state matter which should be handled at that level only. "I don't agree with the BJP's slogan of 'sarkari damaad'. We are not in agreement with the politicisation of the issue and dragging Sonia Gandhi into it," he said.
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