The monsoon session came to an end on Thursday but the acrimony between the BJP and Congress that paralysed proceedings threatened to spill over to the streets with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi leading the charge.
Modi set the tone as he equated the Opposition’s “disruptive attitude” with an Emergency mindset and asked NDA MPs to fan across the country to expose those who want to save the “family”. Over the next month, NDA MPs will hold public meetings in Congress and Left constituencies.
"We accept this undemocratic challenge by the Congress and will take it to the people. Our people will go to every nook and corner to expose the Congress, which is trying to stop the growth of the country," the PM said at a meeting of the NDA parliamentary party.
Rahul hit back, saying the PM “lacked guts” and promising to “defend” the country from the RSS and Modi. “After losing the elections against him, I thought he was a strong guy. But now I think not. We have understood that this PM gets scared,” he said.
The Congress vice-president led his party in protest outside Parliament against the NDA over the Vyapam and Lalitgate scandals. “I am asking the PM to bring back (former IPL chief) Lalit Modi. This is a big opportunity for him. Let him bring back Lalit Modi and clear the scam in cricket,” he said.
He also reminded mediapersons of government notices to three TV channels recently over coverage of Yakub Memon’s execution, saying, “When your views clash with theirs, your mikes will be shut.”
Senior BJP leaders and NDA MPs held their own ‘Save Democracy’ march from Vijay Chowk to the Gandhi statue in Parliament, shouting slogans against the Congress for stalling Parliament.
The acrimony continued as finance minister Arun Jaitley, who was part of the march, called Rahul “immature”. “When seniority is thrust on you, a certain level of maturity is required… The more he (Rahul) grows, the more immature he gets,” he said, before going on to criticise Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s protest in Lok Sabha on Wednesday. “It is for the first time that the supreme leader of a mainstream party has jumped into the well of the House. Even the pretext of stature and dignity was not maintained.”
Rahul, meanwhile, continued to target foreign minister Sushma Swaraj a day after their bitter exchange in Lok Sabha. Dismissing her charge against former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in the Bofors case, he said, “Such charges make no difference to me as the judicial system gave a statement that this was a campaign against Rajiv Gandhi and that there was nothing in it. But the matter is going on for 30 years with our opponents keeping on attacking us.”
The Congress’ leader in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, has written to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan seeking expunction of Swaraj’s allegations against Rajiv Gandhi, party whip KC Venugopal said.
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