Opp storms RS demanding Gadkari’s resignation

Rajat Kain

File Photo ( PTI )

File Photo ( PTI )

The collective Opposition led by Congress party in Rajya Sabha took on the BJP-led central government forcefully demanding resignation of Union Minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari over the allegations of corruption.

The Upper house could not transact any business as unrelenting opposition kept pitching protest after Gadkari was named in the CAG report for alleged irregularities involving loan extended to his family-linked Purti group.

Raising the issue, Congress member Shantaram Naik cited that the CAG report last week had stated that Purti Sakhar Karkhana Limited (PSKL), a sub-group of the Purti Group in which Gadkari was once a board member did not meet conditions for availing interest subsidy from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

“CAG has found that PSKL did not comply with the conditions for interest subsidy which stipulated that the renewable energy project was to operate for a minimum of 10 years after its completion,” the Congress member said.

Seconding Naik, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said “this is not a question of allegation against an individual MP or minister…This is a CAG report against a company he was heading. Having been indicted he cannot continue as a minister”.

The treasury benches reacted sharply rebutting the allegations. MoS Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said “We are ready to have a discussion on the issue of corruption. Congress always runs away from discussing corruption.

“It does not behove you to discuss corruption. Not discussing and making sweeping statement won’t work,” Naqvi said taking a jibe at the Congress party.

Soon the debate took shape of a protest with many Congress members coming to the Well of house raising slogans demanding the resignation of Union Minister Road and Transport Nitin Gadkari. The deputy chairperson PJ Kurien too tried to pacify the members break the pandemonium between the two sides, but they were unrelenting.

The sharpest attack, though, came from Congress party’s Anand Sharma as he sought Prime Minister Modi’s response on the issue.

“The Prime Minister has to reply on this. He goes around the world abusing and vilifying his predecessors…he goes abroad carrying a tri-colour, his visits are paid for by the consolidated funds of India, state exchequer and the taxpayers, and then he becomes a pracharak, worker of a party,” deputy leader of Congress party said.

The government reacted as the protest grew on. Once again targeting the Congress party Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “Congress party talking about corruption was ridiculous…the government is ready for discussion on corruption any time. Corruption of all governments should be discussed”.

But there was no end to stalemate even after repeated adjournments as the upper house was adjourned 6 times amid protest. Finally deputy chairperson PJ Kurien adjourned the Rajya Sabha till next week on Monday.