Uttarakhand row to stoke fires in Parliament

Congress set to confront govt., issues notice for discussion

Updated - October 18, 2016 02:22 pm IST

Published - April 23, 2016 01:03 am IST - New Delhi:

The stage is set for yet another confrontation between the Congress and the BJP-led NDA government when the second half of the Budget session commences on Monday, with the Uttarakhand row coming in handy for the principal opposition party to maintain its belligerent stand.

On Thursday, Congress deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma gave notice for a motion. It says “that this House deplores destabilisation of the democratically elected government in the State of Uttarakhand and disapproves the unjustified imposition of President’s Rule under Article 356 of the Constitution.” He has also asked for a discussion on the first day of the session itself, suspending all other business.

The Central government, which challenged in the Supreme Court the Uttarakhand High Court’s ruling on revocation of President’s Rule, is standing firm. On Friday, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said, “..there was a constitutional breakdown because the Appropriation Bill was not passed in the Assembly.”

Government sources meanwhile told The Hindu that the BJP was also scanning the remarks of Chief Justice K.M. Joseph (the full text of the order will be available only on April 26) for anything critical of the Congress, to counter the latter’s arguments.

For instance, on April 20, when Chief Justice Joseph had slammed the Centre’s actions, he had also criticised the Congress, saying, “Congress has not covered itself in glory on this…. If it’s a bluff [on the part of any political party] we shall call it a bluff. We shall not mince words.” The Congress is, therefore, trying to mobilise other Opposition parties to support its resolution. While the Left Parties, the Janata Dal (United) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal will back it, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Trinamool Congress are yet to discuss the issue. If Uttarakhand is the Congress’s weapon against the government, the BJP is set to raise the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, with party MP Kirit Somayya having already given a notice for a discussion in the Lok Sabha. The Congress’s Anand Sharma has however, made it clear that it will defend Congress president Sonia Gandhi against the charges that the second affidavit was changed at her behest.

It is against this backdrop that the government will have to try and push through its economic legislation.

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