Congress steps up campaign against Modi government over Adani row

The party persisted with its demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into charges against the Group and released a video of Rahul Gandhi asking if the country’s foreign policy is about Adani’s business expansion policy

Published - March 14, 2023 09:53 pm IST - New Delhi

Leader of various Opposition parties meeting at Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge’s office in Parliament House on Tuesday.

Leader of various Opposition parties meeting at Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge’s office in Parliament House on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Congress on March 14 not only persisted with their demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the charges against the Adani group but stepped up its attack by circulating a social media video of Rahul Gandhi in which he asked if the country’s foreign policy is about Adani’s business expansion policy.

On Tuesday, more than 16 Opposition parties would met in Rajya Sabha’s Leader of the Opposition and Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge’s office to chart out the next course of action on the Adani issue. The Leaders are discussing proposals like getting all Opposition MPs to sign on a joint petition or march to the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Opposition parties have been arguing that while the Modi government has been using Central agencies to target their leaders, the same agencies have hardly acted on allegations against the Adani group.

“Is the objective of India’s foreign policy to make Adani richer? In the last nine years, Modi ji has kept India in bhram (misled) and Adani in vishwa bhraman (world travel) along with him,” Mr. Gandhi asked in a video even as the BJP insisted on an apology for his ‘democracy under attack’ comment at Cambridge University.

Separately, as part of the Hum Adani ke Hain Kaun (HAHK) series, Congress communications chief Jairam Ramesh cited a March 13 reply of the Finance Ministry to a Parliament question on Department of Revenue Intelligence investigations against the Adani group for ‘over invoicing’ of coal imports from Indonesia and asked why it has taken eight years for the DRI to complete its investigation.

House proceedings

As proceedings in both the Houses remained paralysed, Mr. Ramesh said in a tweet, “Modi Government’s continued refusal to even allow the combined Opposition to raise its legitimate demand for a JPC into the PM-linked Adani ‘MagaMegaScam’ has resulted in an impasse in Parliament. This is the only issue. Anything else is a deliberate diversion by the PM & his colleagues”.

The tone for the Opposition’s aggressive response to the government’s attack on Mr. Gandhi was a stance set at a series of meetings. First, the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP), presided by Sonia Gandhi, met at the party office in Parliament House and it was followed by a meeting of floor leaders at Mr. Kharge’s chamber.

Leaders of 16 parties, including the Congress, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Janata Dal (U), the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Samjwadi Patry, the Shiv Sena (Uddhav faction), the Aam Aadmi Party, the CPI, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the MDMK, the NC, and the Kerala Congress, decided to raise the Adani matter in the House.

Though the Trinamool Congress did not attend the meeting but its members protested in front of the the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament complex and held banners that read “Stop protecting Adani”.

DRI probe into Adani

As part of the HAHK series, Mr. Ramesh posed fresh three questions pertaining to the DRI probe allegations of “over invoicing” of imported coal from Indonesia.

“Why has it taken more than eight years for this report to be finished and will you permit the DRI to make its potentially damning contents public? Or is this another instance of you allowing your cronies to siphon ₹5,468 crore in inflated capital costs, to be ultimately borne by consumers and taxpayers,” he asked.

“How long will your cronies be allowed to steal from the people of India to fill your party’s coffers?” Mr. Ramesh added.

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