The first week of the budget session has passed off by and large peacefully and the Congress hasn’t played the spoilsport so far.
The party forcefully intervened on many occasions but refrained from forcing adjournments to stall business.
On Thursday, the Congress was protesting against human resource development minister Smriti Irani’s remarks regarding goddess Durga and the party’s insistence on her apology forced the House’s adjournment. On Friday though, the party let Irani complete her reply to the debate without offering any apology.
But the moot question is whether this peace will last for the full session.
Congress leaders said there was no change in tactics as the party never disrupted the sessions deliberately and whenever it did, the provocation came from the government.
Party sources, however, said by not allowing Parliament to function, the BJP was getting an opportunity to mislead people that the Congress is an “obstructionist” party.
Congress leaders belonging to this camp said the party should try to corner the government on issues through debates and only stall those legislations that are not in the interest of the country.
They are of the view that the treasury benches should not be given a “free run” as happened in the Lok Sabha during Irani’s reply to a discussion on JNU row and the suicide of Rohith Vemula when the Congress, Left and the Trinamool Congress members walked out in protest, giving her an “open field” to rip apart the Opposition.
But a section of the Congress believed the party should pay back the BJP in the same coin as the BJP had stalled key bills on economic reforms.
This section, which includes some general secretaries and MPs, had earlier expressed anguish to the party leadership that they had allowed the passage of insurance, mines and minerals and coal mines bills in the budget session but the Modi government had taken credit for it.
As it is, normalcy is expected to prevail over the next week when the two Houses take up discussion on the President’s speech, rail budget and general budget.
“For now, our hands are full,” said leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, when asked if the Parliament could witness a repeat of winter session.
Congress leaders are waiting to see the treasury benches’ response to Rahul Gandhi’s interventions — he is going to speak during the discussion on President’s speech — as the Congress vice-president had set the tone with his remark that the “government is scared of him” and won’t let him speak.
At an all-party meeting earlier, Azad had pointed out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi how he could expect the Congress’ support in the Parliament when ruling party members were constantly attacking Rahul.
Subsequently, BJP leaders have criticised the Congress vice-president on political grounds, but the attacks haven’t been personal in nature.