The Congress will not allow both houses of Parliament to function if the government does not obtain the resignations of BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan before the monsoon session begins on Tuesday, senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has said.
Foreign minister Swaraj, Rajasthan chief minister Raje and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Chouhan should resign or be sacked because the Congress is ready for “battle” and will not “give up” or “give in”, said Azad, the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.
Though the decision to disrupt parliamentary proceedings will be taken on a day-to-day basis, Azad told India Today channel’s programme To The Point in an interview on Monday that the Congress will follow the example of the BJP in the past.
He said the BJP had held up the functioning of the entire monsoon and winter sessions of Parliament under the UPA government over the 2G issue.
Speaking about the Vyapam scam or the scandal over the recruitment and admission tests conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board which he called “the grandmother of all scams”, Azad asked: “Who is responsible for the 40-plus killings? Is it the Pakistan Army? Is it the ISI? Or is it the Naxals?”
Azad alleged that it is people known to and protected by the BJP who are responsible for the suspicious deaths of witnesses and accused linked to the Vyapam scam.
The Congress sees itself as the face and ears of the Indian people who have expressed shock and anger over scams and that is why it is insisting action must be taken against Swaraj, Raje and Chouhan, he added.
Speaking about the land acquisition bill, Azad made it clear the Congress will not allow the bill to be passed in Parliament or even allow it to be tabled in the Upper House and discussed.
Azad said there is no way the Congress will compromise on three critical aspects of the bill – the consent clause, the social impact clause and the clause that determines land will be returned to the farmer if it is unused after five years.Speaking about the GST bill, Azad indicated that the Congress is prepared to be flexible and accommodating over its five key concerns with the bill.
They are the 1% inter-state entry tax, the demand for a flat 18% GST rate, the inclusion of liquor, petrol, tobacco and electricity, 100% compensation for states for five years and enhancing the state vote in the GST Council from two-thirds to three-fourths while reducing the Centre’s vote from one-third to one-fourth.
However, Azad said, how flexible and how accommodating the Congress is prepared to be will only be known after a parliamentary committee submits its report on the GST bill either on Tuesday or Wednesday.
He was confident the Congress has sufficient support from other political parties in the Upper House to ensure that the GST Bill falls short of the two-third majority needed in the Rajya Sabha.
Speaking about the talks between the Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers in the Russian city of Ufa on the sidelines of the SCO summit, Azad said the Narendra Modi had “bungled” and “embarrassed” the country.
He was angry about the commitment to provide additional information on the Mumbai attacks case. India has already provided all the information it has and there is no way this commitment to provide additional information can be fulfilled, he said.