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Monsoon Session, Day 2: Rahul Gandhi ups the ante against Modi govt

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The first day of monsoon session witnessed a stormy start after Opposition targetted BJP government over Lalit ‘tweetgate’. The reins were taken up by Congress leader Anand Sharma who asked BJP to make its ‘tainted ministers’ resign.

While Rajya Sabha saw no business on Day 1, Lok Sabha paid tributes to a sitting member and 13 former MPs who died in the recent past on the first day of the Monsoon session.

Today, Congress vice- president Rahul Gandhi is set to dash Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hope of seeing a ‘constructive Opposition’ in the Monsoon session of Parliament.

He is also likely to up the ante against Modi government and expected to lead the charge in the Lok Sabha.

The prospect of continued disruption of Parliament loomed large over the Monsoon session as Congress on Monday ruled out any debate till External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje quit their posts, a demand that was outright rejected by government.

“No resignation, no discussion” was the message of senior Congress spokesman Anand Sharma while replying to a volley of questions from reporters on the controversy surrounding the External Affairs Minister in the ‘Lalitgate’ scam.

Indicating a ‘tit-for-tat’ bid to silence the Congress on the Vyapam scam allegedly involving Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said there is a demand to discuss scams involving Chief Ministers of different parties, a veiled reference to the bribery scam surrounding its leaders in Assam and Goa.

Insisting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should “walk the talk” and secure the resignations of Swaraj and Raje, Sharma, who is the Deputy Leader of the party in the Rajya Sabha, said that only then a discussion on the Lalit Modi controversy could take place in Parliament.

Sharma’s statement came at a time when the party has decided to take up the Lalit Modi issue in the Lok Sabha tomorrow to be in line with the Rajya Sabha where the matter came up today.

The Upper House failed to transact any significant business today on the first day of the Monsoon session as opposition pressed for resignation of Swaraj as also Chief Ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh over various controversies.

The government maintained that it was ready to discuss the controversy related to Lalit Modi in which Swaraj and Raje are under attack, the opposition insisted on resignations before any debate could be taken up in the House.

Lok Sabha was adjourned immediately after it met for the day as a mark of tribute to a sitting member who passed away recently. Tomorrow is the first working day of the Lower House in the session which concludes on Aug 13.

Speaking separately, Naidu claimed that there was no allegation whatsoever against any of the NDA Ministers. “Nothing illegal has been done by anybody. Our government is totally scam free government”.

Congress tactics is not to discuss but to disrupt which will “boomerang on them”, the Union Minister said indicating that the confrontation would continue as government would not accept the opposition demand.

Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje are under attack for their links with Lalit Modi, the former IPL Chairman, who is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate in an alleged money laundering case.

PTI