In the middle of zero-hour in Lok Sabha Tuesday, when almost all Congress MPs, excluding Sonia Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge and Veerappa Moily, were in the well of the House raising slogans and seeking an apology from the Prime Minister for his remarks against the Congress president, the party’s chief whip Jyotiraditya Scindia rushed to Sonia who was sitting in the front row.
In the din, Scindia told her that word from Dehradun had come, that MLAs led by Harish Rawat had successfully demonstrated their majority on the floor of the Uttarakhand assembly. Congress MP Deepender Hooda immediately stood up to announce: “Democracy has won in Uttarakhand.”
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As an elated Sonia sought more details from Scindia on what had transpired in the assembly, senior leader Kamal Nath too walked up. By then, the chanting in the well also included “Loktantra ki jeet hui hai” (democracy has won). Sonia too later said the Uttarakhand development is “a victory for democracy”.
Although the Uttarakhand result will be out only it is handed over to the Supreme Court Wednesday, the Congress morale is already up.
In Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, who returned from Dehradun in the afternoon, demanded that the government apologise for what it had done in Uttarakhand. Azad walked into the House beaming, minutes before it was adjourned for the day at 4.10 pm. He was welcomed by Opposition members including those from the BSP and Left.
The Congress, in the meantime, had already blocked the government’s attempt to pass the Uttarakhand budget which has to be approved by Parliament because it is currently under President’s rule. The Congress said it would allow the Appropriation Bill for Uttarakhand to be passed only on Wednesday.
Outside the House, senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi, who argued Harish Rawat’s case in the High Court as well as Supreme Court, said, “If we win… it will prove that such political and legal misadventures in the abode of the gods constitutes a Himalayan blunder.”
In Thiruvananthapuram, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said the BJP will “cooperate”. He said he did not consider the Uttarakhand development as a setback to the party.
“In a democracy, we have to accept that. It is on the floor of the House (trial of strength)… as per the decision of Supreme court, the Uttarakhand assembly sat and (there is) majority for Congress, so we will cooperate,” Gadkari told reporters at a meet-the-press programme.
“Uttarakhand is not a problem between Congress and BJP. That is the internal problem of Congress and for that they are blaming the BJP,” he claimed.
(With PTI inputs)