Rahul says Sushma committed 'criminal act', questions PM's silence
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday over corruption charges against top BJP leaders, even as the Opposition repeatedly disrupted proceedings in both houses of Parliament for the third day in a row.
"We want the Prime Minister to respond to the corruption charges against Sushma Swaraj and chief ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. His words should carry weight," Gandhi told reporters outside Parliament.
The Congress is pushing for the resignation or sacking of foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje for allegedly helping Lalit Modi, the tainted former chief of the Indian Premier League, after his passport was revoked. The Opposition has also demanded Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's resignation over the Vyapam recruitment and admission scam. The BJP has made it clear it stands by its leaders and there is no question of them resigning.
"Sushma Swaraj has done a criminal act. She has signed papers for a fugitive from the law. The PM should answer for this," Gandhi said, questioning Modi's continuing silence on the charges against top ministers.
"You are the prime minister of the country, not the prime minister of BJP. The people of India need to know what is in your mind," Gandhi said.
"The PM had assured nation that 'na main khaonga na khaane doonga (won't take bribe, won't allow to take bribe)'. His credibility is going down."
He also reiterated his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi's stand: 'No discussions without resignatons'.
In Parliament, Congress MPs, wearing black arm bands, led protests in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, forcing early adjournments for the day.
Opposition members continued their protests even though the government agreed to discuss allegations against external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
In Lok Sabha, opposition MPs shouted slogans and waved placards despite appeals for calm from speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
"Why is the Congress running away from a debate. We are ready for a discussion," senior BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.
Seeking to counter the opposition attack, BJP chief whip Arjun Ram Meghwal told the chair about his notice of breach of privilege against Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra.
He alleged that Vadra has demeaned parliamentarians in his Facebook post. "He cannot do that...nobody can do that," Meghwal shouted amid din.
But, Sonia showed no let-up in aggression, and accused the government of blanking out TV coverage of opposition protests in Parliament.