NDA to launch campaign against Congress on Parliament disruption

BJP on Thursday squarely blamed the Congress for the disruption of the monsoon session because it was “enslaved” to the Gandhi family and announced that it will launch a campaign against the party in all its 44 Lok Sabha constituencies for paralysing Parliament “without” a cause.

Senior BJP leader and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched a sharp attack on the Congress top brass, saying they cannot accept power and authority going outside their family and dubbed as a “new low” the sight of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi rushing to the Well of the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. On a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi set the tone for the ruling combine’s belligerence by equating the Gandhi family’s attitude with the mindset that caused Emergency, BJP announced plans to raise public awareness against Congress’ strategy in Parliament.

“Congress has exhibited that it continues to be enslaved to a family. It is willing to compromise national interest and policy merely because the family is unable to digest its electoral defeat in 2014. There is popular disapproval of its policies of disruption without a cause,” Jaitley told a press conference. He also ridiculed Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi over his “rent a cause” approach, saying “he cannot make a distinction between parliamentary speech and sloganeering and the more he grows old, the more he is immature”.

The minister said one Union Minister and four NDA MPs will hold public meetings and events in the constituencies of 44 Congress MPs and 9 from the Left parties, he told reporters hours after the monsoon session ended in a virtual washout. As part of the campaign, he said awareness will be raised nation wide against both the parties with special focus on the Lok Sabha seats held by them. He described Congress and the Left as key actors in the disruption and said the government was hopeful that the “hostility of public opinion” will force them to help in the passage of the GST bill, which could not be passed because of the disruption. Government has indicated that it may reconvene the session, which was adjourned sine die today but not prorogued, for pushing its legislative agenda, especially the GST bill.

Attacking Sonia Gandhi, Jaitley said it was for the first time that the leader of the major party rushed to the well of the house, a reference to her protests against BJP members’ remark about a relative of hers.

“Congress President Sonia Gandhi hit a new low. It is for the first time that the supreme leader of a mainstream party has jumped into the Well of the House. Even the pretext of stature and dignity was not maintained,” he said.

Asked about Rahul Gandhi’s attack on the government over a host of issues, he said there was no “serious expectation” that he would raise the level of debate.

“When seniority is thrust on you a certain level of maturity is expected… Aggressive body language is never a substitute for substance,” the minister said in a jibe at him. He said the stalling of Parliament by Congress by its “lung power” was because the Gandhi family cannot accept an outsider ruling the country.

Jaitley noted that Emergency was caused by a similar mindset as the then Prime Minister could have averted the crisis by passing the power to another Congress leader but did not.

“This session has educated and enlightened public opinion that India s economic interests are being held to ransom by the political frustration of Congress. India stands educated, though frustrated. The anger emerging out of this frustration will provide India the answer to face this challenge,” Jaitley said. The real problem in the parliamentary logjam was not in the Lok Sabha but in the Rajya Sabha, he said.

The debate in the Lok Sabha yesterday over External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s alleged help to former IPL boss Lalit Modi showed the “facts” were on the government’s side while the Congress’ charge was “hollow”, he said.

“It is the NDA government which is taking effective steps to bring to book the alleged offender (Lalit Modi) around whom the present controversy is centred,” he said. Congress had stalled Parliament demanding resignations of Swaraj and two BJP chief ministers over the Lalit Modi and Vyapam issue.