Opposition mulling Parliament boycott for three days

Opposition mulling Parliament boycott for three days

Opposition mulling Parliament boycott for three days

Peeved over the "attitude of the Congress" in Parliament which was paralysed over the detention of Anna Hazare, Opposition leaders would meet today to decide their course of action, including a proposal to boycott proceedings for three days.

"I have given a suggestion that we should boycott Parliament for three days. All Opposition parties will meet later today to take a decision on the issue", CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta told PTI here.

He condemned the Congress "attitude", saying the ruling party did not allow any discussion on the arrest of Anna Hazare and others. CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat also came down heavily on the Congress, saying Hazare's arrest was "a strong attack on democratic rights. ... I believe it also reflects the Congress party's refusal to tolerate any movement against corruption.

"One can ask why is the Congress leadership taking this decision. Clearly because their own government is steeped in corruption", she said. Maintaining that it was decided that all parties would be allowed to have their say on the issue, Karat said, "It was the Congress which disrupted Parliament today. They should not have done it. They should have allowed the decision to reach the Chairman's chamber to allow all parties to express their views for or against Anna's arrest."

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad also condemned the Congress "behaviour", saying "they do not want anyone to speak outside Parliament and also obstruct speaking inside Parliament for the sake of defending their acts of corruption".

Accusing Congress members of not allowing Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley to speak by shouting him down, Karat said, "The ruling party obviously found it embarrassing for anybody to speak in a voice other than their own".

Asked whether Hazare's arrest reflected an "emergency- like situation", the CPI(M) leader said it was a "strong attack on democratic rights. ... We don't agree on several counts with Anna Hazare but we cannot tolerate such a move.

"This country has a Constitution, there are democratic rights and as long as there is a peaceful protest, you cannot ban it", she said. Prasad said it was "indeed a very shocking behaviour today on the part of the ruling party inside Parliament, particularly in Rajya Sabha", accusing the treasury benches of disallowing Jaitley from speaking.

In the same vein, CPI National Secretary D Raja said, "Today it was the Congress which disrupted the House. Why should the government undermine the political process, undermine the political parties? Anna Hazare's arrest is a matter of public importance".

He said the Left parties may not agree with Hazare on many counts, but that does not mean such "anti-democratic" steps should be taken by the government to arrest him and his followers.