The upcoming budget session is unlikely to see much activity beyond Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reading out his budget speech, according to Congress sources. With enough ammunition at hand, the party is preparing an all-out assault on the Narendra Modi-led government.
“It’s going to be a stormy session. The prime minister should take the opposition into confidence and see to it that the House functions smoothly and effectively. While he should be careful about what he says outside Parliament, in Assam he makes outrageous remarks against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi. If the PM thinks he can do without the cooperation of the opposition, let him go ahead and get the bills passed,” Congress MP and chairman, Public Accounts Committee, KV Thomas told Firstpost.
According to Congress sources, party MPs have decided to attack the government on three issues – the suicide of Hyderabad-based research scholar Rohith Vemula and caste politics, the political crisis in Arunachal Pradesh and the controversial issue of land allotment in Gujarat. The recent comment of the prime minister that “one family is indulging in negative politics” has made them more aggressive.
A couple of days earlier, former minister and Congress leader Anand Sharma had said that the issue of allotment of government land at throwaway price to Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel’s daughter was a serious matter.
“This is a serious matter and must be raised in the Parliament session. The PM must break his silence and answer the questions. It is imperative that he comes clean. The Parliament proceedings have been stalled so far because of the stubborn and confrontational attitude of the PM. He should not provoke and insult the principal opposition party and then say that he seeks co-operation. It is a funny way of seeking co-operation,” Sharma said.
After hitting the Congress wall in two successive Parliament sessions, the government had hoped to pass the long-awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in Rajya Sabha in the latter half of the Budget session, and then get the requisite half of the 29 states to ratify the Bill. With the Congress hardening its position, it looks difficult now.
Moreover, the Congress leadership is of the impression that the BJP is not really keen on getting the GST Bill passed, simply because the RSS doesn’t want it. That is the reason the BJP is trying to provoke it by criticising its leaders.
“The current finance minister as the Leader of Opposition earlier had proudly said that disruption of Parliament was a legitimate parliamentary tactic. Therefore, I think it would be appropriate that the Opposition holds the government accountable to the same standard. It is the responsibility of the government to reach across and ensure smooth functioning of the House. For the PM to expect the opposition to bend over backwards, I guess is expecting too much,” remarked Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.