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Congress' direct attack on PM; both houses see adjournments

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  11 Aug 2015 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, August 10: Stepping up the offensive, the Congress on Monday said Prime Minister rendra Modi was “very close” to former IPL chief Lalit Modi, as the Samajwadi Party siglled breaking of ranks with the Congress over the protests in parliament. Fince Minister Arun Jaitley hit back at the Congress, saying it wanted to “hurt the country’s economic growth story”. The three-week logjam in parliament continued on Monday as well, with both houses witnessing adjournments due to vociferous protests by the Congress. Outside, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi attacked the prime minister for praising the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh chief ministers at a rally in Gaya.

“The prime minister ignored the fact that there is a business relationship between a crimil and the chief minister of Rajasthan,” Rahul Gandhi said. The Congress vice president also said that parliament would function after Exterl Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj disclosed her family’s fincial transactions with former Indian Premier League (IPL) chief Lalit Modi, facing investigation by the Enforcement Directorate.

“Please explain how much money of Lalit Modi has come into your family’s account,” he asked. Congress leader Kapil Sibal told the media on Monday evening that rendra Modi as the then chief minister of Gujarat, along with the present BJP president Amit Shah, was “apparently involved in manipulating bids with the help of Lalit Modi to ensure that the Gujarat Cricket Association “favours an industrialist friend of his (rendra Modi) with an IPL franchise”.

Meanwhile, in a sigl of cracks in opposition unity, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav assured Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Monday that his party would not join the protests led by the Congress in the Lok Sabha. Mahajan had called the meeting with representatives of all political parties to find a way out of the logjam in the lower house. According to sources, Yadav said the Samajwadi Party wants the house to function. He also said the house cannot function according to the whims and fancies of the Congress leadership.

The party had earlier not supported Congress demand for Sushma Swaraj’s resigtion. The Congress is demanding the resigtions of Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for their alleged help to Lalit Modi, and of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Chouhan over the Vyapam scam.

On Monday, the Lok Sabha was adjourned after three adjournments due to protests by the Congress members who raised anti-government slogans, carried placards and came near the speaker’s podium to demand the resigtions of three BJP leaders. As 25 Congress members returned to the house after remaining suspended for five days, disruptions in proceedings of the lower house, as had happened last week, were witnessed. As soon as the house assembled in the morning, Congress leader Mllikarjun Kharge said the way Exterl Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj spoke in the house in the absence of the opposition was not proper. He said her contention that she helped former IPL chief Lalit Modi on humanitarian grounds was not acceptable. The Congress, along with several opposition parties, had been boycotting the lower house in protest against the suspension of 25 Congress members on August 3. Some members raised their respective issues amid slogan-shouting by the Congress members in the post-lunch session. The deputy speaker later adjourned the house for the day.

The Rajya Sabha witnessed heated arguments between opposition and treasury benches over the ongoing logjam and was adjourned for the day following two adjournments. Jata Dal-United member K.C. Tyagi raised the issue of appointment of Ram th Kovind as the Bihar governor and said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was not taken into confidence. Earlier in the morning, Congress leader Ghulam bi Azad accused the government of not making any attempt to end the logjam for the last three weeks but Jaitley denied the allegation. “The government was not allowed to speak by the Congress members. This is the selective approach of the Congress. Is this the way to conduct the house,” Jaitley asked. Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien responded by saying: “Selective blocking is not acceptable. I have never seen such a practice.” Jaitley later told reporters that the the Congress was using the demand for Sushma Swaraj’s resigtion as a pretext to stop the passage of the Goods and Services Tax Bill. “They want India’s growth to suffer,” Jaitley told reporters outside parliament. (IANS)

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