Parliamentary deadlock: Aggressive Sonia, Rahul may force BJP to dial back its offensive
On Tuesday , Congress MPs in the Lok Sabha didn’t enter Parliament. They instead stood outside and, led by party chief Sonia Gandhi, shouted slogans against the Prime Minister accusing him of only indulging in ‘mann ki baat’ and long speeches. In the Rajya Sabha, each time the House was in session, Congress MPs were soon in the well of the House, holding placards and waving black bands, causing a frustrated deputy chairman PJ Kurien to accuse them of the ‘height of indiscipline’.
The decision to suspend 25 of the 44 Congress MPs may have been taken by Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan, but the blame is being laid squarely on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While Sonia Gandhi marshalled the slogan shouting MPs outside Parliament, MPs from The Left, Rashtriya Janata Dal, and RSP protested inside against the suspension of the Congress legislators.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav ended all speculation about which side he stood on the debate by first leading his MPs in shouting ‘nilamban wapas lo’ in the Lok Sabha and then walking out, reported the Telegraph. Others like the Trinamool Congress and AAP boycotted proceedings. CPM’s Sitaram Yechury did not rule out moving a motion against Mahajan since her decision was “excessive in nature”
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Faced with an opposition seemingly united around the Congress, the BJP is now reportedly seeking to cancel or at least reduce the suspension of the 25 Congress MPs in the hope of getting other parties back into Parliament.
The Indian Express quoted an unnamed source as saying that the government may consult with the Speaker if the suspension can be reduced and then get the Congress to promise that placards will not be displayed during Parliamentary proceedings and they won’t “humiliate the Speaker”.
An unnamed senior minister in the government told PTI , “If members go to Speaker and say that they want to come to the House, the Speaker can revoke it.”
When asked whether he is ready to support any such request by Congress MPs to the Speaker, he said, “If somebody wants to talk, I am ready to talk.”
However, the Congress is showing no signs of contrition or making such a request. Faced with such obduracy, the BJP may consider seeking Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh’s help to mediate on their behalf, the Indian Express report said.
For the BJP, getting the Congress to relent and bringing the opposition back into Parliament is crucial as it attempts to pass legislation like the Goods and Services Tax and the Land Acquisition bills. On Land Acquisition bill it has incorporated many of the Congress’s suggestions. According to the Indian Express, the Congress had shown signs of relenting on the GST bill as well. The BJP even seemed to be even getting through to other Opposition parties like the Samajwadi Party on the contentious legislation. However, with none of the parties now prepared to engage with it, the BJP is looking at a complete washout of the monsoon session.