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BJP counters Sonia with Sushma

Swaraj said it was during Indira's tenure that the House was misused to bring an amendment making office of PM beyond scrutiny.

india Updated: Aug 19, 2003 20:54 IST

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday sought to demolish Sonia Gandhi's chargesheet against the BJP-led coalition asserting it does not behove the Congress president to speak on issues like undermining parliamentary democracy and misuse of institutions like the CBI.

In a spirited speech during the debate on the no-confidence motion against the government in the Lok Sabha, Swaraj recalled it was during Indira Gandhi's tenure that even the House was "misused" to bring a constitution amendment making the office of Prime Minister beyond judicial scrutiny.

Congress has demolished all democratic institutions...    Sushma Swaraj

She said this was done in 1975 when Allahabad High Court nullified her election to the Lok Sabha and the Supreme Court only granted her a conditional stay.



Countering Sonia's charge that the BJP was instrumental in toppling the Arunachal Pradesh Government recently, Swaraj said the Congress which has ruled for 40 long years has "great expertise" in toppling governments.



The minister said it was the Congress which had indulged in destabilisation games in the Northeast. She said in 1980, after Indira Gandhi returned to power, the entire Janata Party government in Haryana had overnight crossed over to the Congress.

Swaraj, who repeatedly faced interruptions from the Opposition and whose speech was loudly cheered by the ruling benches, had a dig at Sonia by telling the Congress president to brush up her knowledge about the history of her party or else "you would have to face embarrassment".

Meanwhile, in the midst of no-trustmotion debate, the Women's Reservation Bill brought to fore the rift within the Opposition and NDA camps in the Lok Sabha.

Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav wasted no time in using the opportunity to warn the Congress against pressing the issue too hard at a time when the House was discussing a no-trust motion.

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Yadav, who sounded bitter on Congress, said a way out was found on the Bill with both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister agreeing on a proposal but the main opposition rejected it.

He said to avoid a picture of disunity in the Opposition, he had not touched the issue during his speech. Sitting right next to Yadav, veteran CPI-M leader Somnath Chatterjee looked uneasy as differences surfaced between Congress and Left and strong opponents like Samajwadi Party.

The women's Bill caused a stir in the House whenSwaraj raised the topic in a bid to counter allegations by Leader of the Opposition Sonia Gandhi and Chatterjee that the Government was using lack of consensus as a pretext for inaction on the issue.

Swaraj said the Constitution Amendment Bill, seeking to provide 33 per cent reservation for women in assemblies and Lok Sabha, could not be taken up without a conducive atmosphere in the House.