Winter session: Congress hardens position on Parliament logjam

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 12, 2015 01:41 IST
Opposition Congress members in the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi during the winter session of Parliament on Friday. (PTI Photo)

Hardening its position on the ongoing logjam in Parliament, the Congress on Friday returned to its old demand—removal of three tainted BJP chief ministers—as a precondition to allow the House a smooth run in the ongoing session.

The party may also stick to its key demands on the goods and services tax (GST) as vice-president Rahul Gandhi told leaders in an internal strategy meeting that the Congress wants a “pro-business and pro-people GST” while he dubbed the current bill as “pro-government”.

As an aggressive BJP hit out at the Congress on the National Herald case that involves top leaders of the principal Opposition party, leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad told HT, “We have been demanding action against three BJP CMs, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Vasundhara Raje and Raman Singh. Let the BJP take action against these leaders and the House will run from the next day.”

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In the last session, the government faced a near-washout as the Congress disrupted both Houses as it wanted foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and the three CMs to be removed over allegations of scams.

There were further indications that the ongoing logjam may not end soon and the Congress may not budge easily on its demands to amend the GST bill. Gandhi told some party strategists that the Congress is committed to a good GST bill which must be “pro-business as well as pro-consumer”.

“We have made important demands and the government has not come back to us,” he said in the meeting. When reporters reminded Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday that the PM said on Thursday Parliament should not be stalled on the basis of whims and fancies, she quipped, “Let him say what he wants to.”

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Even as the Congress has called a strategy meeting on Sunday, in the Rajya Sabha minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi appealed to the Opposition party to allow the House to run from Monday.

“Let us unite to push those agenda that are related to the country’s growth and development,” Naqvi said, adding that the perception was that proceedings were stalled because of the National Herald case.

The BJP parliamentary party office has brought out a booklet that has a compilation of media reports on the case. “We will circulate this to our party MPs and leaders to educate them about the illegalities and counter the Congress propaganda,” BJP official Balasubramaiam Kamarsu said.

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