Before the budget session… Cong-BJP sparks begin

Rajat Kain

Congress-presser-1

FILE: File photo of Congress party top leadership at a press conference in AICC headquarters, New Delhi. Photo – PTI

With the Budget session of Parliament slated to begin this month, verbal sparks between the ruling party and the principal opposition party lent a slight hint of things to come. While the latter held that it is a duty of the ruling party to “run parliament”, the BJP accused Congress of not paying heed to “people’s mandate”.

The last two sessions – Monsoon session and Winter session – witnessed disruptions and tempers with treasury and opposition clashing on series of political issues.

Raising the political pitch, PM Modi had on Friday criticised Congress party saying its top leadership stalling several crucial bills. In an veiled attack at Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, he said that “one family” is disrupting Parliament to avenge defeat in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Prime Minister’s remarks have since attracted strong rebuttal by the Congress party, whose leaders said the party was proud of it top leadership – Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Continuing the counter-offensive, senior party leader and former CM of Madhya Pradesh, Digvijay Singh took on the BJP, saying it was the responsibility of the government to run parliament.

“It is the responsibility of the government to run the parliament and Congress also wants the parliament to function but the party has three major objections on the GST bill,” Singh told the press in Jaipur.

The senior Congress leader also said that Congress party has differences with BJP and RSS on the ideological front, adding PM Modi should speak on the issue of corruption.

Soon after, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu accused the Congress of being “intolerant” towards mandate of people and indulging in excuses to block the bills and the Parliament proceedings.

FILE: New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP President Amit Shah at the party's parliamentary board meeting in New Delhi on Thursday, January 28, 2016. Photo - PTI

FILE: New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP President Amit Shah at the party’s parliamentary board meeting in New Delhi on Thursday, January 28, 2016.
Photo – PTI

“There is no excuse at all…Congress should stop making excuses and blocking the bills. Obstruction and blocking of the bills is blocking progress of the country. And it is Congress which is making excuses saying we are being not consulted,” Naidu said.

“We never ignore anybody, we are consulting all parties…Even Prime Minister has invited Congress president and even I have been to the house of Congress President twice…there is no question of ignoring,” the Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister added referring to PM Modi’s meeting with AICC chief Sonia Gandhi and former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh.

The tea meeting, which was called by the Prime Minister himself in November last year at his 7 Race Course Road residence, failed at breaking the deadlock between the two over the issue of crucial Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill.

The bill, which is passed by Lok Sabha, is yet to be tabled in the Upper House where the BJP-led NDA government is facing a number crunch. The government is now extremely keen to get the bill through, even though it is likely to miss the April 2016 roll-out date it had set itself.

The last two Parliament sessions had been difficult one for the incumbent Modi government with the Opposition parties time and again gheraoing them over the issue of ‘rising intolerance’ in the country, National Herald case, Lalit Modi controversy, Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh to name a few.

And now with the issues like Dalit scholar’s suicide in Hyderabad, where Congress party is demanding resignation of Union HRD minister Smriti Irani and Union Labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya; alleged land row in Gujarat, where Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel is under criticism; and, Indo-Pak relations expected to echo in Parliament, the budget session may see another round of risen tempers.