It was a rare moment on Thursday that left the opposition members stunned. When Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s intervened briefly— her first intervention during the 15th Lok Sabha — during the WikiLeaks report discussion, she took them by surprise.
It happened when BJP leader Yashwant Sinha referred to the Indo-US nuclear deal while concluding his speech. “What was at stake in that election (2009)? Apart from this government and its longevity what was at stake was the Indo-US N-deal. That was what was at stake,” he said.
This provoked Gandhi to respond. “They used to say the same about your government,” she said amid thunderous applause from members of the Congress, its alliance partners and those from parties supporting the government from outside.
It came as a surprise to all since Gandhi rarely intervenes during discussions. Instead, she is seen prompting the ministers and other members from her party to make a point whenever required.
Not surprisingly then the BJP members too reacted by putting their hands up and clapping. This was also reflected in what Sinha had to say. “…The point I am making is that if I have said something which has drawn an immediate response from the PM and…. from Sonia Gandhi, I would say my point has gone home,” he said.
The exchange did not stop here. Pointing to Sinha, minister of state for parliamentary affairs V Narayansamy said: “It is a reply to you”.
On Tuesday, the reticent Gandhi was combative. When Akali Dal members alleged that one of their members (Sukhdev Singh Libra) was offered bribe to vote during the July 2008 trust vote, she was seen asking parliamentary affairs minister PK Bansal that Libra, who is now a Congress MP, should respond. And when Libra replied the Akali Dal had initially decided to vote for the UPA but changed its stand after LK Advani’s intervention, Gandhi vigorously thumped the desk.