'Murder of democracy vs destructive Oppn': Cong, BJP battle outside House

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 04, 2015 16:01 IST

The BJP parliamentary party accused the Congress on Tuesday of being a "destructive" opposition and passed a resolution against its "obstructionist and anti-development" policies.

"Congress has abdicated the responsibilities of a constructive opposition and is using its numerical strength in Parliament, especially in Rajya Sabha, to adopt a negative strategy. BJP parliamentary party condemns the obstructionist, narrow and anti-development mindset of Congress as it will have a serious and adverse influence in long term on the country which is emerging as an important economic power in the world," said the resolution passed in the meeting, attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and most of his ministerial colleagues.

The Congress has been disrupting Parliament proceedings over its demand for the resignation of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, who have been accused of aiding tainted former IPL chief Lalit Modi. It is also gunning for Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who has been linked to the Vyapam recruitment and admission scam.

With the main opposition party unrelenting on its demand for the resignation of Swaraj, Raje and Chouhan, the BJP said there was "no basis" for such a demand and the parliamentary party stands with its three senior leaders.

The ruling party also lashed out at Congress president Sonia Gandhi for calling it a "black day for democracy" and raked up the imposition of Emergency to criticise it.

The BJP's reaction came after Congress MPs led by Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh demonstrated against the suspension of the party MPs, vowing to keep up pressure on the government and expand their protest across the country.

Union minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters after the meeting that Congress has become a "destructive" opposition party.

'Murder of democracy'

Congress lawmakers, wearing black armbands, gathered near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the Parliament complex and criticised Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan's decision to suspend the MPs for five days for their unruly behaviour within the House on Monday.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Supriya Sule and some members of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) joined the protest.

Referring to the suspension of the Congress MPs, Sonia Gandhi told the media that "democracy is being murdered". Former PM Singh said the suspension of lawmakers is "no way of resolving issues".

Rahul was more scathing in his remarks, saying: "What is being done to the 25 MPs is being done to the whole of India...We will not end the pressure on Sushma Swaraj, Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan."

"The Vyapam scam has destroyed the future of thousands in Madhya Pradesh. There is clear evidence that Sushma Swaraj-ji has broken the law. The Rajasthan chief minister is directly involved financially with Lalit Modi," alleged Rahul.

"I and the Congress are not asking for their resignations, the people are asking for their resignations. The Prime Minister is fond of 'mann ki baat' (speaking his mind), I would ask him to listen to the mann ki baat of the people of India," he added.

Congress leader Kamal Nath told reporters that the suspension of MPs was unprecedented. "It is a breakdown of parliamentary dialogue," he said.

Senior party leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said Parliament could resume functioning only if Swaraj put in her papers.

Read: Strategy to isolate Cong could backfire, key bills may be stalled

Boycott, walkout in Lok Sabha

In Lok Sabha, a combative opposition launched a united protest against the suspension of Congress MPs, as members of the Congress, Trinamool Congress and NCP boycotted the proceedings and those of the Left, SP and RJD walked out soon after the House met.

As soon as the House met for the day, members from Left parties, SP and RJD wanted to raise some issues but were not allowed to do so by the Speaker, who also rejected their adjournment notices and asked them to raise the issue during Zero Hour.

During the Question Hour, RJD's Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav raised slogans like 'take back suspension'. He was soon joined by members from the Left and SP. After shouting slogans from their benches, the legislators staged a walkout. Those who walked out included SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and P Karunakaran (CPI-M), leaving the opposition benches virtually deserted.

The front row of the opposition benches was completely empty, barring only one seat occupied by AIADMK leader P Venugopal.

Members of the Congress, NCP, Janata Dal(United) and Trinamool and Muslim League, were not present in the House.

All these parties are boycotting the House for the next five days in solidarity with the 25 suspended Congress members.

The Speaker's decision to suspend the Congress MPs worsened a bitter stand-off between the government and the main opposition party and dimmed chances of key bills being passed during the monsoon session.

The BJP's Naqvi has said the resolution to suspend the MPs was passed unanimously because of their "obstructionism and negativity".

Read: PM should listen to 'mann ki baat' of people of India, says Rahul Gandhi

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