Accusing the government of “arrogance and obduracy”, the Congress on Sunday put the onus on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for functioning of Parliament after a near washout of Monsoon Session’s first week with opposition adamant on resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and two BJP Chief Ministers.
“Culpability and gross abuse of office in helping Lalit Modi, the Indian fugitive, by both Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje are evident. Their explanations are weak-kneed and meaningless in view of proven criminality.
“Onus now lies upon the PM to take action by placing smooth functioning of Parliament above the parochial interests of the BJP. Therein lies the test of his leadership and lofty promises on which he rode to power,” party spokesperson Randip Surjewala said.
Parliament has witnessed a washout since the monsoon session began on July 21 with Congress-led opposition aggressively pressing for ouster of Ms. Swaraj, Ms. Raje, as also Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, rejecting the government’s offer for a debate.
Asking the government to listen to the opposition demand for fixing accountability on Ms. Swaraj for “gross impropriety and abuse of office,” former Union Minister Anand Sharma attacked the government for “stonewalling the justified demand of accountability by opposition in Parliament”.
Holding that the Parliament can start functioning immediately after the Prime Minister invokes established set of standards and procedure in the matter, Mr. Sharma said, “There cannot be different set of rules for the BJP government. Parliament could not function in the first week because of arrogance and obduracy of the PM.”
He said that apart from Ms. Swaraj, action must happen against the Rajasthan Chief Minister.
“Equally important is that the Prime Minister takes cognisance of the Vyapam scam which cannot be termed as a state issue as students as well as residents of many States of India are among those who have died under suspicious circumstances,” Mr. Sharma said.
He said that the Opposition wants Parliament to function, to deliberate on many issues which concern the people and rued that it is not right on the part of the government that senior leaders of the treasury benches “heckling” leaders of the opposition and disrupting proceedings.
“Thus the blame of non-functioning of Parliament lies at their doorstep,” he said.