Parliament 'washout' session ends

Parliament 'washout' session ends

It was curtains on the four-week long Monsoon session of Parliament on Thursday which was marked by disruptions rather than debate between the Congress and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

The scenes of acrimony spilled on to the streets with the Congress and BJP staging tit-for-tat protests within Parliament premises blaming each other for not passing legislations.

As the House convened on July 21, the government appeared to be on the back foot with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and two BJP chief ministers — Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan and Shivraj Singh Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh — facing allegations of impropriety.  The Congress made the most of it by stalling both Houses almost every single day leading to a washout and delaying crucial laws such as the goods and service tax bill and amendments to the land acquisition bill.

The only saving grace for the government was the transaction of financial business and passage of some minor legislations, but this came with a price – boycott of the Lok Sabha proceedings by all Opposition parties, barring the AIADMK and the BJD, to protest the suspension of 25 Congress members for creating unruly scenes in the House.
Minutes before the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die on Thursday, Congress MPs and friendly parties staged a walkout from both the Houses raising slogans against the government and demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s response on “Lalitgate” and Vyapam controversies.

Members of the Congress, NCP, Left parties, Trinamool Congress, IUML, SP and the JD(U) did not return to Parliament for the customary valedictory address by the presiding officers of the respective Houses.

They staged demonstrations in Parliament premises raising slogans and waving placards against the government.

Not to be left behind, Modi and BJP president Amit Shah addressed a meeting of NDA members and later took out a march within Parliament premises to protest against the Congress’s “politics of disruption”.

BJP veteran L K Advani, senior ministers, including Rajnath Singh, M Venkaiah Naidu and Ravi Shankar Prasad, walked the 200 metre distance from Parliament House to Vijay Chowk waving placards against the Congress.

The BJP also decided to take the battle against the Congress and the Left to their respective Parliament constituencies. Modi issued directions to party MPs to extensively tour the 53 constituencies of the Congress and the Left members to tell voters how their representatives paralysed Parliament without reason.

Addressing a press conference, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said one Union minister and four MPs from the NDA will hold public meetings and events in the constituencies of 44 Congress MPs and 9 from the Left parties.

The Congress fielded its vice-president Rahul Gandhi and former Union minister P Chidambaram to counter the BJP’s allegations on the Bofors scandal and dared the prime minister to bring controversial former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi back to India.

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