‘Dignity of House and democracy must prevail over narrow political considerations’

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday asked the Opposition to come out of narrow political considerations to uphold the dignity of Parliament and maintain democratic values. There was no issue to which a solution could not be found through a dialogue, and the Opposition should join a discussion in Parliament so that the truth could come out, she said.

Ms. Gandhi was digressing from the issue of bringing the Himalayan waters to the parched desert district of Barmer on the country’s western border during the launch of the Barmer Lift scheme of the Indira Gandhi Canal in the district.

“The boycott of Parliament is unfortunate. What would be left of democracy if discussions do not take place in Parliament,” Ms. Gandhi asked addressing the massive crowd of desert folks from Barmer and Jaisalmer districts in a measured, 12-minute speech. “The Opposition should join a discussion in order to maintain the dignity of Parliament and democracy,” she said.

An array of senior party leaders, including Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Union Ministers Mukul Vasnik, C.P. Joshi and Sachin Pilot, Rajasthan PCC president Chandra Bhan, local MP Harish Choudhary, and PHED Minister Jitendra Singh were present.

Mr. Gehlot hailed her as the “Bhagirath” who brought Himalayan waters to the desert. The Rs. 699-crore first phase of the project — for which the foundation was laid in 2003 during the previous Congress government — will provide drinking water to Barmer town, 70 villages and the Defence establishments.

“Challenges galore”

“Let there be a discussion and the truth will come out,” Ms. Gandhi said, not directly naming the contentious issue of Comptroller and Auditor General’s findings on the anomalies in coal block allocations. “Dudh ka dudh aur paani ka paani ho jayeja, [the truth will come out],” she said.

“The country is facing many challenges. The global economic slowdown has an adverse impact on us. There are other burning issues such as inflation, drought, floods and social tensions,” Ms. Gandhi said asking the Opposition to rise above narrow political considerations in the interest of the country.