Upset Advani says he feels like quitting Parliament
New Delhi: Veteran leader of the ruling party at the Centre, and member of BJP’s Marg Darshan Mandal, LK Advani spoke of resigning from Lok Sabha after witnessing the near washout of the winter session of Parliament.
He found fault for the second time with Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for not being able to run the House. The senior most leader had asked Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to convey his anguish to the Speaker. He remained seated for a while after the House was adjourned on Wednesday and members had left. He urged the Home Minister to try to see that the House functions at least on Thursday. He also asked Rajnath Singh to talk to the leaders of the opposition parties.
On coming out of the House after it was adjourned, Advani has expressed his desire to quit. He spoke of the way the Parliament used to function during Atal Behari Vajpayee’s regime. Had Vajpayee been in Parliament today, he would have been very sad, said Advani. “Disruptions are so disappointing that I wonder if I should resign from the Lok Sabha,” he told Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani. Tomorrow (Thursday) is the last day of the winter session. If there is no debate tomorrow also, the winter session would be considered a washout,” Advani commented when the BJP and Trinamool Congress MPs came up to him to greet.
The winter session which began on November 16 had 22 sittings with many of the ten important bills that the government had listed to be discussed and passed remaining on the paper. The most important legislation waiting for Parliament’s nod is Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill. The Parliament has cleared only four bills so far in this session.
The government’s decision to ban Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes received flak from the opposition with people standing in serpentine queues across the country for days together. The essentially cash-based economy has come to a standstill with the invalidation of big currency and in the absence of alternative arrangement. Retail businesses, small industries and construction activity have suffered rendering lakhs of people across the country jobless.
More than 90 deaths have been reported because of cashless misery. The Trinamool Congress and the Aam Admi Party were the first to raise the banner of revolt followed by the Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party. There have been allegations and counter allegations flying across the floor of Parliament with the Prime Minister spending a short time on two days in the proceedings.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi thought it was better to speak to the people directly rather than facing the opposition in Parliament. Both the sides accused each other of obstructing the proceedings. President Pranab Mukherjee had intervened to ask the members, “For God’s sake, do your job.” But the plea of the head of state had no bearing on the lawmakers.
Meanwhile, both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned yet again on Thursday without transacting any business. Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress MP in the Upper House, said it was for the first time in independent India that the treasury benches had obstructed the functioning of Parliament.
In turn, aggressive BJP members started attacking the opposition parties in general and the Congress in particular, saying that the opposition had been obstructing debate in the Parliament for almost two weeks. Armed with the copies of a newspaper from India Today group which published the details of the expose that the reporters of Aaj Tak, Hindi channel from the group, have done through a sting operation, BJP members hit out at Congress allegations.
Senior BJP ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi alleged that the first family of the Congress party (meaning Sonia Gandhi’s family) was the beneficiary in the Agusta deal in which hundreds of crores of rupees were paid as bribe to get the order. They repeatedly accused the Congress party of indulging in scams and laundering black money.
The Congress, on its part, accused the Prime Minister of running away from debate. Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he had a bombshell with him which he would like to explode in Parliament. He alleged that he was not being allowed to speak in the House because, “The Prime Minister is personally terrified. I have information which shows that Modi is personally corrupt.” The BJP leaders retorted saying that Rahul Gandhi was making a joke of himself and he had no evidence against the PM.