BJP plans to meet Raje-Chouhan fire with own offensive
The BJP will take the Opposition head-on and firmly stand behind foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and the CMs of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, whose removal has been virtually set as a precondition by the Congress for the smooth running of Parliament.
The BJP strategy was firmed up during a string of high-profile meetings on Sunday that saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi locked in discussions with party chief Amit Shah and a clutch of senior cabinet ministers.
“The allegations of the opposition are baseless and the party will go on a counteroffensive to expose the Congress,” BJP leader Shrikant Sharma said.
Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Rae, who reached the Capital in the morning, met Shah and some senior ministers earlier in the day. Chouhan, who arrived late in the evening, was to meet Shah after a meeting with the PM.
Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, Smriti Irani, Ravishankar Prasad and Raje were among the leaders who attended the meeting at Shah’s residence.
On Monday, the BJP will also go into a huddle with the alliance partners -- the first NDA meeting after the Modi government took charge.
The BJP, which is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha, needs all the support it can, as this session is crucial for its showcase goods and services tax bill.
If the GST bill, which aims for a uniform tax regime, is not passed this session, the 2016 rollout that the government is targeting would be impossible to meet.
The running of Parliament and passage of important bills would be “more easy” if BJP would act against Swaraj, Raje and Chouhan, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
“I’m hopeful that when the parliament session starts day after, the Prime Minister will start by saying that those involved or those on whom charges have been levelled in Lalitgate as well as Madhya Pradesh chief minister..., will announce their resignation,” the Congress leader said.
Swaraj found herself in the middle of a controversy when a British newspaper revealed that the minister had helped fallen cricket czar Lalit Modi obtain travel documents in the UK.
Soon details of Raje’s alleged close ties, including business relations, with the IPL founder also emerged, piling pressure on the CM and the BJP.
In Madhya Pradesh, Chouhan was recently forced to ask for a CBI probe into a widespread multi-crore recruitment and admission racket, better known as Vyapam scandal. At least 40 people connected to the scandal have died; many of the deaths remain unexplained.