Rajya Sabha stalled over ‘National Herald’ case

Informal talks continue on crucial Goods and Services Tax Bill.

Updated - November 17, 2021 02:09 am IST

Published - December 10, 2015 04:34 pm IST - New Delhi

With the BJP readying a booklet titled ‘National Herald — Family Greed and National Blackmail’ to provide its members of Parliament and organisational leaders points to attack the Congress, no breakthrough to the deadlock in the Rajya Sabha is in sight.

Congress members repeatedly disrupted the Upper House again on Friday alleging “political vendetta” in the National Herald case even as informal talks continue on the crucial Goods and Services Tax Bill, the fate of which is linked to whether the House functions.

To be issued by the BJP’s Parliamentary Party office, the booklet — which suggests that the BJP has hardened its position in response to the Congress’ charge — will contain editorials of newspapers on the case. It will also feature writings of Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and M. Venkaiah Naidu and Sangh ideologue S. Gurumurthy.

Sources, however, say the government is likely to stay clear of the legal tangle but attack the Congress politically.

Congress leader Anand Sharma told The Hindu that the party saw the GST as an important piece of legislation the UPA had authored but added that it could not be rushed through. He accepted that the government had informally contacted the Congress but added that the “final proposition” was yet to come. The Congress would look into it once it came, he added. While there was buzz that the government might formally meet the Opposition on Sunday, both Central ministers and Opposition leaders denied that any such meeting had been fixed.

However, political positions remain polarised since the National Herald controversy came up, despite Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi shaking hands at Sharad Pawar’s 75th birthday event on Thursday.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Friday rejected Mr. Modi’s words of caution that democracy could not be subject to whims and fancies, saying, “Let him say what he wants.” The JD(U) has, meanwhile, made it clear that it will support the GST Bill and would take part in any meeting on it.

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