No communication, not even a call: Congress slams govt on Parliament impasse
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No communication, not even a call: Congress slams govt on Parliament impasse

Opposition says not effort has been made the government to end logjam in the House.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2018 08:02 IST
Prashant Jha and Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Prashant Jha and Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress leader Randeep Surjewala, Anand Sharma, Kumari Shelja, Jyotiradhitya Scindia, Ahmed Patel and Raj Babbar addressing media at Parliament house during the budget session of Parliament in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI)

Holding the government responsible for the stalemate in Parliament, the Congress on Wednesday said the ruling coalition had not initiated any “front-channel or back-channel” talks and not made a single phone call to any senior Opposition leader to break the deadlock in the past 12 days. Nor had it moved to convene an all-party meeting. The government denied the charge and blamed the Opposition for stalling proceedings in Parliament.

Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia also charged the government with “promoting intolerance” in the country and inside Parliament.

“No front-channel talks, no back-channel talks, no all-party meeting and no communication with the opposition parties and leaders. So, you promote an atmosphere of intolerance in the country and you promote an atmosphere of intolerance inside Parliament,” said Scindia, who is the Congress party’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha.

The second half of the Budget Session that started on March 5 has been disrupted by Opposition protests in both Houses. Demanding special category status for Andhra Pradesh, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the YSR Congress Party have moved notices of a no-confidence motion against the government, but Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has not admitted them, citing “lack of order” in the House.

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) members have been at the forefront of protests, demanding the formation of a Cauvery Water Management Board to settle the river water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and an increase in reservation limits, respectively.

Scindia pointed out that the governments in the past has always made efforts to break the logjam in Parliament. “Whether we were in government or BJP was in power during the (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee era, there have always been efforts at some sort of rapprochement by the ruling side. But in the past four years, we have seen a transformation in the parliamentary democracy system in the country.”

The government denied the charge.

Junior parliamentary affairs minister Vijay Goel said the Opposition itself was not interested in the functioning of Parliament.

“There is no question of not reaching out. We have meetings with opposition leaders every day in the RS chairman’s room. The opposition is talking to the media instead of discussing and debating the issues inside the House. The 2019 elections are here and it seems the opposition parties are using the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for their own political gains.”

The Trinamool Congress and the Biju Janata Dal echoed Scindia’s views. “No effort has been made by the government to reach out to the parties to end the logjam. The BJP is not interested in allowing a discussion on bank fraud and the no-confidence motion,” said BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab.

Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said that while the government had not called any all-party meeting, the onus of ending the logjam was on the Speaker. “The AIADMK and the TRS should be convinced to allow the House to run,” he added.

First Published: Mar 22, 2018 08:02 IST