The Congress and the Left parties led the Opposition charge on the first day of the monsoon session of Parliament on Tuesday and made the resignations of senior BJP leaders named in the Lalit Modi and Vyapam scams a precondition for discussions on the two issues.
While both the Congress and the CPI(M) seemed to be working in consonance, their leaders made it clear that Parliament would not be allowed to function till External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Singh Chouhan were removed from their posts.
The CPI(M) said discussions and debate in Parliament could not be a substitute for investigations into the two scams as the government began saying it was ready for discussion but the Opposition was stalling proceedings.
Party general secretary Sitaram Yechury described the Vyapam scam as “a deadly cocktail of crime and corruption” in which those connected with the scam were mysteriously dying.
“Till a probe is completed, the Chief Minister should step down.” He said the issue of helping Lalit Modi too needed a thorough probe.
The Congress and the CPI(M) made identical demands and charges on the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading to speculation that the two were coming closer due to the West Bengal polls.
The Congress and the CPI(M) said the BJP had laid down the condition of resignations first and discussions later during the UPA’s time when the 2G scam broke out.
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told The Hindu : “Our demand for resignations is not new. The government is deliberately dragging its feet because it does not want Parliament to function.”
Mr. Azad said after the government failed to build consensus on key bills, it is looking for an escape route before the Bihar elections by showing little interest in running Parliament.
His colleague in the Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma, charged the government with clandestinely approaching the U.K. government for issuing British travel documents to the former IPL commissioner. He said this was done so that the international agencies would not nab him and deport him to India.
Mr. Sharma said Ms. Swaraj’s offer of making a statement would not suffice. “She said earlier that Mr. Modi was given help on humanitarian grounds and it turned out he was travelling for fun.”