Herald issue: Cong decides to step up protests, ‘frustrate’ govt

  • Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 10, 2015 01:20 IST
Congress MPs, led by Rahul Gandhi, staged a protest outside the Parliament House in New Delhi. (Mohd Zakir/ HT Photo)

The remaining part of the ongoing winter session of Parliament is headed for an acrimonious battle between the Congress and the government with the main opposition party deciding to step up protests in both houses on the National Herald issue.

At a strategy meeting chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, party leaders resolved to escalate the issue and fight it both legally and politically.

The meeting also decided that Congress MPs will continue with their protests inside Parliament and “frustrate the government’s efforts” to push its legislative and reforms agenda, a leader, who took part in the deliberations, told HT. The Congress’ aggressive posturing has cast a shadow on the passage of the crucial goods and services tax (GST) bill in the ongoing session.

Senior leaders, he said, were also opined that all attempts by the ruling side to pitch the issue as a fight between the Congress and judiciary should be thwarted. “We have to foil the BJP’s nefarious designs,” another leader said.

On Wednesday, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders sought to dispel the suggestion that the party was trying to threaten the judiciary. “I have full faith in the country’s legal system. Truth will come out,” he maintained.

On the record, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the meeting was called to discuss parliament strategy and the National Herald issue.

Later in the evening, senior leaders and lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi briefed Congress MPs of the Rajya Sabha on the National Herald case. Lok Sabha members will be briefed on Thursday.

According to a party strategist, they will not seek bail on December 19 when both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul will appear before the trial court but will request for exemption from further appearance.

A senior functionary said a section in the party was of the view that stepping up protests in Parliament could prove counterproductive and lead to public perception that the Congress is anti-growth. But others countered that the BJP had stalled Parliament for three years on various issues and still went on to form the government at the Centre.

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