Sparks resume in Parliament over National Herald issue

Rajat Kain

Sonia-Gandhi-1The Congress party resumed its protest in both the houses of Parliament over National Herald issue, where party chief Sonia Gandhi, vice president Rahul Gandhi along with other senior leaders of the party are facing court proceedings. Raising slogans against the incumbent BJP government, Congress MPs took to the Well in both the houses as soon as it reassembled Wednesday morning. Both Rahul and Sonia were present in Lok Sabha today.

While, Lok Sabha transacted business in Question Hour amid their protest, Rajya Sabha was adjourned several times before it was adjourned for the day.

Speaking at beginning of Zero Hour in Lok Sabha, Congress leaders in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that it seems “there are two laws in the country…one for the Opposition and other for the government,” which elicited a strong reaction from the ruling benches.

“We had raised ‘Vyapam’ scam of Madhya Pradesh, scams in Chhatisgarh and others in BJP ruled states….but no enquiry has been done against them. Whereas, ED sleuths raided the residence of Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh even as he was engaged in his daughter’s wedding,” Kharge said adding “You will never be able to intimidate us”.

“We are not protesting against the judiciary but against your intentions,” he said.

Venkaiah-Naidu-Lok-SabhaThe tempers have been high in both the houses since Tuesday, after Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and five other office bearers of the Congress party received set-back from Delhi High Court in connection with National Herald case. The high court on Monday rejected their plea seeking the quashing of summons issued by the trial court last year in a case filed by BJP member Subramanian Swamy alleging them of acquiring the properties of now defunct newspaper National Herald’s publishing firm Associated Journal Ltd. illegally.

Responding to Mallikarjun Kharge’s charges, Union Parliamentary Affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu said that the government has nothing to do with the matter as it is a court order.

“Congress party must respect the court order…. Here they are threatening the judiciary through the Parliament,” Naidu said adding further that the principal opposition party is “not ready to accept the verdict of the people” in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The Congress MPs, however, were adamant in their protest as they kept raising slogans in the Well of the House even as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan proceeded with the house business in Zero Hour.

“Please go back to your seats…. I gave your leader time and he has spoken before the house. Now, you should end your protest…” Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said a few times seeking order in the house.

Kharge-Lok-SabhaEarlier, Congress party members once again strongly criticised MoS External Affairs VK Singh over his controversial remarks on the gruesome killings of Dalit toddlers in Haryana October this year.

“You compared Dalits to dogs, you have to answer for that…. A man who has no respect for the constitution, no respect for the weaker section… such a person has no right to continue as a minister,” Mallikarjun Kharge said angrily even as several Congress MPs behind him stood up in protest against VK Singh.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and MP from Madhya Pradesh, Jyotiraditya Scindhia too rose up in protest saying “look…he is sitting here and smiling,” referring to VK Singh, who was present in the house.

Later speaking in Rajya Sabha after it resumed for a short while at 3:00 PM, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the government didn’t act on cases involving their Chief ministers and other BJP leaders.

Former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi’s passport controversy and the ‘Vyapam’ case of Madhya Pradesh had led to the washout of whole Monsoon session due to stalemate between the government and the Opposition.