Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die on Thursday, marking the end to an unproductive monsoon session that was marred by repeated disruptions and ruckus.
Before the adjournment, the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA's) floor managers met in order to discuss their strategy. Home minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj were among those present at the meeting called by parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu.
The meeting came amid a deadlock in both Houses of Parliament in the wake of fierce protests by the Congress, which wants the resignation of foreign minister Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje for allegedly helping former IPL chief Lalit Modi get UK travel documents. The Congress also wants the ouster of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the multi-crore Vyapam scandal.
Later in the day, NDA lawmakers marched from Vijay Chowk to President House at 12:30pm in order to 'Save Democracy'.
Amid the pandemonium in Parliament, the bill to introduce the goods and services tax is stuck in the Rajya Sabha. On Tuesday, the government introduced the Constitution Amendment Bill in the Upper House to roll out the GST offering to compensate states for at least five years to offset any potential revenue loss after migrating to the new system.
The Congress supported by the Left, however, did not allow any discussions on the proposed legislation which, finance minister Arun Jaitley says, can raise India’s GDP by 2%.
The new system, if implemented, will significantly alter the country’s tax administration by replacing a string of central and local levies such as excise, value added tax and octroi with a single unified tax and stitching together a common national market.
On the last day, the House may see another round of disruptions and unruly scenes after Swaraj attempted on Wednesday to ward off an opposition onslaught against her over the Lalit Modi controversy with piercing jibes at the Gandhi family that tore through a wall of protest from Congress lawmakers in the Lok Sabha.
Hitting back, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi rejected her claims of innocence and reiterated his charge that the minister and her family had taken money from former IPL chief Lalit Modi, whom he called a “symbol of black money”. When finance minister Jaitley began to reply, the Opposition staged a walkout.
(With agency inputs)