The Congress believed in “mobocracy” not democracy and was hurting India with their raucous protests on the National Herald case, parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu said on Wednesday, leading the government’s charge against Opposition logjam that has paralysed Parliament.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha amid loud protests, Naidu said the government had no hand in the case as other BJP leader referred to the Emergency to hit out at the Congress.
“They don’t want to obey the court’s objective. They are disrupting Parliament to threaten the judiciary. This is not healthy for a democracy. Congress party doesn’t want Parliament to run. They don’t ready to digest the mandate of the people,” Naidu said in the Lok Sabha.
Slogan-shouting Congress parliamentarians forced the Rajya Sabha to be adjourned for the day while the Lower House was repeatedly disrupted.
The bitter protests have cast a shadow on the government’s ambitious legislative agenda – including the goods and services tax bill -- in the winter session as an angry Congress is unlikely to allow the passage of key bills, especially in the Rajya Sabha where the NDA is in a minority.
“30 people are not allowing the House to run. They want the democracy to fail. They are obstructing progress. They are exposed. They are frustrated,” said Naidu. He also pointed out the case was filed when the UPA was in power.
The House has not functioned since Tuesday after a Delhi court ordered party chief Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul Gandhi to appear before it on December 19 to face allegations that they illegally acquired property worth crores belonging to the defunct National Herald newspaper.
The party accused the government of slapping “proxy litigation” against its top leaders through BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who had filed the case. It alleged that the charges are politically motivated and aimed at muzzling criticism of the government.
“This country has two laws. One for the ruling party, the other for the Opposition,” said Mallikarjun Kharge, the Congress’s leader in the Lok Sabha as combative Congress MPs rushed to the Well, shouting slogans — “Modi teri tanashahi nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi (dictatorship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be tolerated).”
The party found support from the Trinamool Congress, which staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha accusing the government of indulging in “vendetta politics”.
The tone for the party’s aggression inside and outside Parliament was set by a defiant Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday who invoked late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s legacy to underscore that she was not afraid of facing the courts.
“I am the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi. I am not scared of anyone. I am not disturbed,” she said soon after an emergency party meeting in the Parliament House.
To make matters worse, BJD parliamentarians too demonstrated in the Rajya Sabha, carrying placards and shouting slogans against the multi-purpose Polavaram irrigation project. The placards read “Polavaram will harm Odisha” and “We Oppose Polavaram”.
Junior parliamentary affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the Congress was insulting the mandate of the people. “Don’t you know displaying placards is not allowed,” deputy chairman PJ Kurien told the BJD members. “Shouting slogans is also not allowed. Stepping into the well is also not allowed,” he said, turning to the protesting Congress MPs.