After a round of protest and counter protest in the Parliament complex on Friday, the ruling party and the principal opposition party are setting a stage for a fresh round of political confrontation announcing fast and a counter fast.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a fast by BJP MPs on April 12 to protest against the impasse in Parliament for which he blamed the opposition party, the Congress announced its own fast three days ahead on April 9.
Earlier in the day protesting near Gandhi statue, the ministers blamed the Congress for disrupting proceedings in both the houses. Several BJP lawmakers also gathered near the statue to support the ministers. With placards in their hands that read: “Save Democracy”.
“The Congress did not allow to the House to function and we are upset in the manner the proceedings were disrupted,” Parliamentary Affairs minister Anantha Kumar said leading the protest.
A total of nearly 250 working hours were wasted before both the houses were adjourned sine die.
Attacking the Congress, MoS Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla said the Congress was doing a “drama” both inside and outside the house and it did not allow the house to function. “They never allowed Parliament to function. We will now take this before the people,” he said.
However, a group of Congress lawmakers – Sushmita Dev, Ranjit Ranjan, Sunil Jakhar, Ambika Soni and others – also protested against the government before the Gandhi statue.
Reacting to the protest, Jakhar said, “Doing protesters is the job of the opposition but we were successful in making the government fulfil role of the opposition.”
Hours later, in a counter-offensive, the Congress announced that its workers would hold a day-long fast at all state and district headquarters on April 9 to expose the government on various issues.
Addressing a joint press conference, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and party’s senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said party chief Rahul Gandhi has announced a plan to holding a fast at all district headquarters to help promote peace, brotherhood and harmony in the country.
Kharge also alleged that it was the government and its allies which were disrupting the Lok Sabha and questioned why members causing disturbance were not suspended and the no-confidence motions taken up for discussion.
The government and its allies were “orchestrating” disruptions and blaming the Congress for it, he alleged.
(With inputs from PTI)