In a bid to corner the Congress, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj pinned the blame on the ruling party for disruption of Parliament by members from Andhra Pradesh, who are agitating over the proposed creation of Telangana State. If the UPA was sincere about creating Telangana, Ms. Swaraj said the government would introduce the bill regarding the State’s creation.
“The Congress and the government are playing a game here. The Congress thought that by announcing formation of Telangana it will placate the pro-Telangana leaders while the government, through its inaction on the issue, will placate those standing for a united Andhra Pradesh,” she said.
In a rare news conference at Parliament House, she flagged the issue of Telangana along with the pending Constitution Amendment Bill on ratification of the India-Bangladesh Boundary Agreement, which her party opposes. “He [Manmohan Singh] held a meeting with us on it recently ... Without any ifs and buts, we had said at the meeting that we will not support the Bill on this issue,” she said.
The Congress alone, Ms. Swaraj held, was responsible for the imbroglio.
Her news conference came amid jostling within the Bharatiya Janata Party over projection of the party’s prime ministerial candidate and comparisons within sections of the BJP and the media on how smooth was the sailing in the Rajya Sabha as compared to the Lok Sabha.
Usually, Ms. Swaraj holds a press conference along with her counterpart in the Rajya Sabha at the end of a session.
Of late, the BJP top brass have been toying with the idea of declaring Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi the party’s prime ministerial candidate, despite efforts by a few leaders to delay it.
Indications are that the party is all set to announce Mr. Modi as its candidate for the top job after the monsoon session is over.
Those in favour of an immediate announcement are of the view that a delay serves no purpose, particularly since the Election Commission, in the next few weeks, would set in motion the process for election to the five State Assemblies, out of which the BJP has high stakes in four.
When a journalist quoted Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley as having said earlier in the day that since there was total clarity in the party on its prime ministerial candidate there should be no delay in announcing it, Ms. Swaraj shot back: “This press conference is on issues related to Parliament not party affairs.”