BJP applecart has started tumbling: Adhir

 Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. (PTI Photo)

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, is known to rustle up controversies with his unique way of putting across his views. On Monday, one such phrase – kiraye ke tattu (rental horses or puppets) — while referring to Members of the European Parliament who visited Kashmir, raised the hackles of the Modi government. In an interview with Sagar Kulkarni of DH, Chowdhury said that the Congress was on a comeback trail, particularly after the assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana.

What has changed since the assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana?

The Congress is filled with new energy after the assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana. Not only in Maharashtra but elsewhere too. And the BJP ranks appear to fall apart. You can see what the Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) is saying, you can see what All Jharkhand Students' Union (AJSU) is saying (about its tie-up with the BJP). The BJP applecart has started tumbling.

So, you say the Congress is on a revival path?

Certainly. If not today, it has to happen tomorrow. It (revival of Congress) is destined to happen.

What will be the role of Rahul Gandhi in the Congress?

You ask this to Rahul Gandhi. I am not his spokesperson. I am a small fry doing the role assigned to me by the party.

Will Rahul Gandhi be back as Congress president?

Why not? Everybody at the party respects Rahul Gandhi.

Your comments kiraye ke tattu raise triggered a furore in the Lok Sabha...

What else do you call persons who were brought to Kashmir with a purpose? All were right-wing party representatives in the European Parliament brought here to paint a certain picture about Kashmir. It is an insult to Indian Parliament that we, the members of Indian Parliament, are not allowed to visit Kashmir and a red carpet is rolled out for Members of European Parliament. Our leaders Rahul Gandhi and Ghulam Nabi Azad were sent back from the airport in Srinagar. Azad had to seek the Supreme Court's intervention to visit Kashmir.

You also wanted Farooq Abdullah and P Chidambaram in Parliament?

Farooq Sahab is a senior member of the Lok Sabha, he has been illegally detained under the Public Safety Act. It is his constitutional right to be in the Lok Sabha when it is in session. Chidambaram should also be allowed to attend Rajya Sabha.

What is the strategy for the Winter Session of Parliament?

We will try and hold the government accountable on a range of issues from the state of the economy to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Unemployment, growing pollution in cities, withdrawal of SPG security cover of opposition leaders including former prime minister Manmohan Singh and the Gandhi family, hounding of opposition leaders by central investigative agencies, farmers' problems... we have plenty of issues.

A common complaint of the Opposition is that they don't get adequate time in Parliament.

The Prime Minister never says no to anything. He always says the government is ready for discussion on all issues, but this never gets reflected in Parliament. We, the Opposition, hope that we get adequate time in Parliament to speak and raise issues facing the country.

You are also the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. What are the priorities of the Committee?

Our top priority is to examine the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax, lack of access to data on various economic parameters, capital acquisition by the Indian Air Force, the performance audit of the crop insurance schemes for farmers, operational preparedness of the Indian Air Force among others.

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