IMPASSE IN PARLIAMENT ON RAHUL, ADANI ENTERS SEVENTH DAY
As the impasse in Parliament entered the seventh straight day, the BJP and the Congress traded traitor barbs on Tuesday with the ruling party terming Rahul Gandhi as a “present-day Mir Jafar of Indian polity” and the opposition party hitting back dubbing the saffron outfit members as “Jaichands”.
With the BJP and opposition parties accusing each other of paralysing Parliament and escalating the slugfest, attempts to break the deadlock by Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla failed to yield any results. Dhankhar has scheduled another meeting of floor leaders of various parties at 10 AM on March 23.
Both houses of Parliament have failed to transact any significant business ever since the start of the second leg of the budget session on March 13 except on Tuesday when amid the din caused by opposition members the Lok Sabha passed a Rs 1.118 lakh crore budget for 2023-24 for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha will not have a sitting on Wednesday and will reconvene on March 23.
While the opposition led by the Congress has been demanding a JPC probe into the Adani row, the BJP is seeking an unconditional apology from Rahul Gandhi for his “democracy under threat” remarks made in London and accusing the Congress leader of insulting India and its institutions on foreign soil and seeking foreign intervention.
Several opposition party leaders also held a protest in the corridors of Parliament House and raised slogans demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Adani row. They also hung a banner from the first floor of the Parliament building that read “We want JPC”.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra set the tone for yet another stormy day by alleging that Rahul Gandhi is the “present-day Mir Jafar of Indian polity” who went overseas seeking help from foreign forces to become a ‘nawab’ in India, and demanded his apology.
“It would not be an aberration to say that Rahul Gandhi is a present-day Mir Jafar of Indian polity. What he has done in London is the same thing that Mir Jafar did,” he told a press conference.
“Rahul Gandhi did the same thing during his visit to London. He invited foreign forces to come to India. Shehzada wants to become a nawab. Shehzada has sought help from the East India Company to become a nawab,” Patra charged. Mir Jafer, a former Nawab of Bengal, signed an agreement surrendering to the British army that heralded the start of the British rule in India and his name is often used to refer to a traitor.
Hitting back, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said the BJP will be seen as “Jaichands” in history and claimed its ideological forefathers were British apologists.
“You want to become Jaichand of democracy….You will be called Jaichands in history if you accord more importance to your friend and not to the country. We urge you to think about the country and not your friend,” Khera said, adding that it is an irony that people whose ideological forefathers have been historically known to be the apologists for the British and today they are giving us lectures on patriotism.
Jaichand, a king from the Gahadavala dynasty of northern India, is often referred to as a traitor who went overseas seeking help from foreign forces.
Khera also said the ruling BJP is just a tenant and not the owner of democracy and asserted that holding the government to account does not amount to criticising the nation.
Noting that Gandhi will not apologise, he said criticising the works of the government does not amount to criticising the country.
Union ministers Piyush Goyal and Pralhad Joshi accused the Opposition of willfully stalling Parliament with its “irresponsible” comments and “unfounded” allegations to mislead the country amid global recognition of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.
With the meetings by Birla and Dhankhar failing to bring any breakthrough to end the deadlock, Goyal and Joshi accused opposition parties of repeatedly “insulting” the Rajya Sabha Chairman.
The Congress hit back at the BJP, alleging that Goyal, who is the Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha, got the ruling party MPs to prevent Leader of Opposition in the House Mallikarjun Kharge of the Congress from speaking twice even after the Chairman had permitted him.
“Silencing of LoP is also an issue quite apart from the JPC on Adani,” Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said on Twitter.
“How can the Opposition demand for a JPC into the PM-linked Adani scam be linked to the BJP’s demand for an apology from Rahul Gandhi on totally baseless accusations?. The JPC is on a real, documented scam. The apology demand is a hoax being raised to divert attention from the Adani scam.”
The Rajya Sabha chairperson personally called up several opposition leaders, including Kharge to attend the meeting but they refused, Joshi said.
After almost the entire opposition except for the regional parties like the TDP, YSR Congress and the BJD skipped the first meeting before noon, Dhankhar called another meeting in the afternoon which was attended by floor leaders of more parties like the TMC and DMK but the Congress and some other parties stayed away. Joshi said this is a “great disrespect” to the Chair.
“It is our prime duty to run the proceedings of House in an orderly manner,” Dhankhar told political parties.
During the 90-minute meeting, Dhankhar highlighted that the House is meant for debate and discussion in a collaborative manner, and not for confrontation and deadlock.
Most opposition parties, however, attended the meeting convened by Birla. Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury represented his party.
Sources said Birla asked the two sides to agree to let the House run and thrash out their differences outside. They added that Joshi said the treasury benches will follow the Chair’s decision. However, several opposition parties have stuck to their guns on the demand for a probe into the Adani row.