All in Well: As Rahul battles BJP on many fronts, Congress MPs under his scanner

Aamir Khan’s character in Three Idiots chanted ‘All is Well’. In the case of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, it is a question of whether or not All in Well.

Rahul is now acting as big brother–watching if all his party MPs are united in shouting slogans and jumping into the well to put the government in the dock on issues that the party has been agitating about over the last few weeks in Parliament. He has been holding a meeting of party MPs every morning to identify the issues to be raised in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha during the day. But complaints have reached him that not all MPs throw in their weight while holding protests on the party line of the day.

It all began earlier this week, when Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad reportedly remarked that all party members did not show the same zeal in agitating in the House. At the morning meeting where Rahul was present, some MPs too made a similar comment, prompting Rahul to ask Azad whether this was true. The senior Congress leader nodded in agreement. The scenario changed dramatically on Wednesday and Thursday when almost the entire Congress flocked into the well of Rajya Sabha, with each member trying to ensure that his/her presence was registered with their party colleagues.
FIle photo. Image courtesy: PTI

FIle photo. Image courtesy: PTI

“Earlier, some of them would saunter in after the protests had been held and the House was adjourned or they would just stand near their seats without joining the sloganeering. But after the matter was brought to the notice of the party bosses, they are now making it a point to be noticed as well,” said a Congress leader who did not want to be named.

For the better part of the winter session, the Congress has been blocking the proceedings of Parliament, flagging issues ranging from intolerance to the government’s political vendetta and the National Herald case; from atrocities against Dalit youths in Punjab to the toppling of the Arunachal government, and from V K Singh’s ‘dog’ remark allegedly against Dalits to the CBI raids on the Delhi chief minister’s office. The Congress and the AAP have demanded Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s resignation for his alleged role in DDCA, thereby putting yet another top minister of the Modi government in the dock after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Other parties too have joined in hitting out against the Modi government on some of these issues.

Earlier, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had directed all her MPs to be present in the two Houses of Parliament till the conclusion of the winter session on December 23. This was to ensure that the members did not use the disruptions to skip Parliament and head for other destinations/constituencies.

Court appearance

Their presence in the Capital would also ensure that the party’s top leaders are available or are in full attendance when Sonia, Rahul and other senior leaders appear before the court on 19 December in connection with the National Herald case. For the record, the party has ‘requested’ its senior state leaders or other workers to come to Delhi on 19 December. But the manner in which the party functions, the appearance of the Congress leaders in court is likely to be marked by a huge gathering of slogan shouting workers and leaders. Those staying behind in the states would be doing their bit in hitting the streets in support of their leadership and against the Centre.

Meanwhile, a series of strategy sessions have been taking place of senior aides and lawyers of the Congress top bosses with regard to the court appearance and the options they have before them. The developments of 19 December could lead to another round of disruptions when the two Houses meet on Monday for the final lap of the winter session. This could take place notwithstanding Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari’s efforts to get the House functioning or the proposed deal to allow the passage of four bills, including the Appropriation bill which has never been blocked in Parliament’s history.

Masquerading as a victim

The repeated disruptions, however, have given the BJP a handle to accuse the main opposition of holding Parliament to ransom to the detriment of parliamentary democracy and the interest of the nation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has, in fact, asked his ministers to fan out across the country to propagate the government’s achievements before the people and highlight the Congress’s stalling tactics.

Conscious of the implication of such a perception, the Congress has over of late gone on the overdrive both in Parliament and in its media briefings outside to try and dispel this notion.

Last week, Azad denied in the Rajya Sabha that the Congress was holding up the House because of the National Herald case. At his press conference on Thursday, he underlined that the government has been seeking the Congress’s cooperation in passing bills in Parliament but it has been doing all it can to vitiate the atmosphere. “Actions like toppling the Arunachal government or raiding the CM’s office are hardly congenial for parliamentary functioning,” he said, adding that it is high time that people see the BJP as a ‘culprit’ and not as a victim or martyr that it is trying to project itself to be.

Other members also attacked the BJP for the casual manner in which it was treating the opposition parties. CPM’s Sitaram Yechury recently alleged that the Modi government has failed to call an all party meeting on crucial issues, be it the GST bill or India’s stand at the climate change conference or the WTO talks, or the latest round of which was held from 15-18 December at Nairobi. Congress leaders allege that a chit or a casual remark is portrayed by the BJP as either calling for or holding consultatio

source from ; firstpost


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