Protests and black bands were back in Parliament on Monday with the monsoon session entering its final week, as the Congress again paralysed both Houses while demanding the resignations of some top BJP leaders but faced criticism from the ruling party and even opposition members.
The Congress was back in full strength in the Lok Sabha after the speaker’s suspension order against 25 of its MPs expired on Friday and its lawmakers flashed placards, shouted slogans and marched to the well repeatedly, forcing the House to adjourn three times and finally for the day.
The ruling BJP accused the Congress of adopting a "hit and run policy" by not allowing the government to speak on the allegations it was raising in the House, while finance minister Arun Jaitley blamed the opposition party’s top two leaders for the impasse.
“The government observes that on the pretext of Sushma Swaraj, the real motive of the Congress is that they don't want the GST Bill to be passed. They want India's growth to suffer,” he told reporters outside Parliament. “Except the Congress, all the opposition parties want that the House should function. Even most of the Congress leaders are against disruption in Parliament but their two top leaders want to stall the House.”
The Rajya Sabha saw heated arguments between the opposition and treasury benches over the Parliament logjam and after proceedings were deferred twice, the House was adjourned for the day following uproar in the post-lunch session.
The Congress backed by some opposition parties has been demanding the resignations of foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje for allegedly aiding controversial former IPL chief Lalit Modi, and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the Vyapam test-rigging scam.
“Sushma Swaraj ji should tell the country how much money she has got from Lalit Modi. Once she tells, there would be no problems,” party vice-president Rahul Gandhi told reporters outside Parliament.
But while some members of the Left joined Congress leaders in the protests, the Samajwadi Party (SP) called for an end to the deadlock and said those making allegations and those facing them should be allowed to speak in Parliament.
At a meeting convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav told Congress leaders to spell out their demand and end the matter through debate.
The SP was among several opposition parties that extended support to the Congress, joining protests and walkouts, after the Speaker on August 3 suspended 25 of its members for disrupting the House.
“You have to ensure that the House functions. This is happening because you have not spoken to anybody,” Yadav told Mahajan amid bedlam on Monday.
(With agency inputs)