With the BJP upping the ante over the alleged controversial land deals of Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, on Tuesday, the Congress got the much-needed reprieve from its outside supporters and also a former ally.
Though it did not get active support from other parties, the main opposition party, the BJP, disrupted proceedings repeatedly in both the Houses by demanding a debate on the issue.
In a rare show of unanimity, both Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) were critical of the move to link Congress president Sonia Gandhi with the land deals of her son-in-law. Similar stand was taken by UPA’s-friend-turned-foe Trinamool Congress.
BSP chief Mayawati said Gandhi’s name should not be unnecessarily dragged into the controversy.
“I would like to say if Sonia Gandhi is held responsible for it, our party does not agree with it. If someone does something wrong, his or her relations should not be punished. On the allegations against Robert Vadra, how can Sonia Gandhi be held responsible,” she said.
Speaking in a similar vein, SP leader Naresh Aggarwal said the BJP was “politicising” the issue which was a state matter and should be handled at that level only.
“I don’t agree with BJP’s slogan of ‘sarkari damaad’. We are not in agreement with the politicisation of the issue and dragging Sonia Gandhi in to the issue. I do not see how she can be held responsible for the whole issue,” he said.
The BJP’s demand for a discussion in parliament also found little support from the Trinamool Congress. Its general secretary Mukul Roy said, “Issues related to land deals fall under the jurisdiction of state governments and parliament can’t discuss such matters.”
Mamata Banerjee’s party had snapped ties with the Congress-led UPA last year protesting the government’s FDI policy and hike in diesel prices.
This development emboldened the UPA government and the Congress party to reject outright the demand for a debate in Parliament.
Privately, the Congress said the BJP’s demand will force the party to seek debate on various issues related to BJP-ruled states, such as CAG indictments on the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat, allegations into Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s wife Sadhana Singh’s dealings.
“It is a state issue and parliament does not discuss state issues ... if they (opposition) want to discuss, then Congress members will demand a debate on the mining scam in Karnataka and mining mafia in Madhya Pradesh. We must discuss issues of Gujarat,” parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath said.
The development on an action-packed Tuesday point towards a rather calm Wednesday in parliament though the issue will continue to haunt the Congress.
Indications from the BJP camp suggest that the party is likely to let the Vadra issue take a backseat at bleast for now and focus on the food security bill that will be taken up for discussion in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.