Further disruption in Parliament seems likely as the senior Congress leadership on Sunday decided to stick to its aggressive stance against the ruling BJP for the upcoming week.
A group of leaders were in a huddle till late at 10 Janpath where they decided to launch an attack on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and question her in the House on the revival of talks with Pakistan.
Sources privy to the meeting told The Hindu that the party would also like to raise the “disgracing” of Kerala Chief Minister Ommen Chandy, who was >asked to stay away from a function where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief guest. The leadership, however, was split on how to raise the series of issues that are so diverse and yet maintain a clean narrative in public. Since the leader of the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, was out of town, the party decided to meet again before the start of the session Monday.
While stoking up its cry over the >National Herald controversy , the party will be insistent on waiting for the government’s outreach on the contentious Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill.
A senior Congress leader told The Hindu that Congress president Sonia Gandhi felt that the party wasn’t getting a fair space in media to explain its viewpoint on the National Herald controversy. Ms. Gandhi asked the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, to urge the party leaders with legal expertise to be more accessible to press reporters and news channels and rebut every allegation “point by point.”
Earlier in the day, former Union Minister P. Chidambaram told CNN-IBN that the acquisition of Associated Journals Limited (AJL) had turned its assets “doubly secured today.” He also ruled out “illegality” in the transfer of shareholder rights from AJL to Young India, a non-profit company in which Ms. Gandhi and her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi own 38 percent shares.
Justifying the shareholding rights of the Gandhis, Mr. Chidambaram said it was a “reflection of the Congress party structure.” “Congress party was lender, now it is a Congress party organisation which is a lender. It is the same. The lender is a non-profit company. Much better,” he said.
Since the signs of thaw are invisible from both sides — the Congress and the ruling BJP — a senior Congress leader said the passage of the GST Bill will be forestalled until the next session.