Rahul’s burst in LS ignites war of words
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has the reputation of being a laid-back parliamentarian. He is not given to shouting slogans, or walking into the well of the Lok Sabha.
- He storms into well of LS, protests oppn voice being stifled
- His remark that ‘only one man’s voice is heard’ rattles BJP
- Cong demands discussion on rising communal violence
- BJP leaders quickly jump to the defence of Modi
- Say Rahul’s aggressive stance only to ward off ‘palace coup’
- Cong retorts: Palace coup was in BJP when one man replaced entire lot
New Delhi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has the reputation of being a laid-back parliamentarian. He is not given to shouting slogans, or walking into the well of the Lok Sabha. Indeed, his voice is seldom heard, and the last time he made news from the House was when he was caught snoozing. This afternoon changed the image, as he walked into the well and protested against Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s refusal to allow a discussion on the ‘communal violence’ situation, citing rules. He carried forward this uncharacteristic show of aggression outside the House as well and charged that “only one man’s voice is being allowed in Parliament and the Speaker is partial.”
To extend the scope of his complaint, he added that the grievance is not restricted only to the opposition but also extends to the members of the ruling party as no debate is being allowed in the House.
The government too hit back swiftly and union ministers Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley promptly refuted Rahul’s charges. “If the Prime Minister had been dictatorial or communal, the BJP would not have swept the elections with such an unprecedented majority for the first time since independence,” said Singh. Jaitley took a pot shot at the situation within the Congress.
“This is a contrived aggression and this is to ward off a palace coup,” he observed in the context of media reports that Rahul’s sister Priyanka is being drafted for a leadership role after his failure. Congress president Sonia Gandhi dismissed Jaitley’s remarks with a one-liner.
“Let them say anything,” but the party’s leader in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, retorted: “A palace coup took place in the BJP last year, when one man replaced the entire party leadership.”
Putting the Lok Sabha incident in the perspective, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi maintained the Speaker’s continued refusal to allow the opposition members from discussing such a sensitive issue was a serious matter. “In just three months there have been 600 incidents of communal violence in Uttar Pradesh, and of these about 400 are in and around constituencies that are due for by-elections, and yet the Speaker did not allow the members to speak,” he added.
Not content with making protest public, Rahul also reportedly took up the matter with the BJP’s senior most leader L K Advani and complained that the opposition was not being allowed to speak in the parliament.