The Congress on Tuesday stepped up its attack on the delay in convening the Winter Session of Parliament, accusing the government of betraying the Constitutional mandate of subjecting itself to Parliamentary oversight, even as the BJP invoked the Emergency to argue that the Congress had originally belittled Parliamentary dignity.
Pointing out that Lok Sabha has met for only 38 days this year, the Congress argued that the Winter Session was neither curtailed nor delayed in 2012, when Assembly elections were held in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
The BJP responded with Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad taking potshots at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s record in Parliament: “I am surprised by the Congress’s concern about the dignity of Parliament. On that note, I would like to ask: how much time does the Congress vice-president spend in Parliament?”
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad accused the government of “shying away” from facing Parliament to “hide its corruption and failures”. Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “The truth does not go away because you hide from it. Modi ji, stop hiding and open the Parliament so the truth of what you did on Rafale can be heard by the nation.”
Anand Sharma, Congress deputy leader in Rajya Sabha, said Parliament was summoned in 2012 on November 2. The session began on November 22 and “continued through the (Gujarat and Himachal) election period, and until after the announcement of the elections till December 20.”
Azad said he had spoken to the Parliamentary Affairs Minister several times, seeking dates for the Winter Session. “But he had no clue, like most other ministers…” Azad said.
Party leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said he too had spoken to the Lok Sabha Speaker and Secretary General about dates for the session, but “only one man knows, and they consider him Brahma, the creator. So the dates will be known when Brahma orders.”
Countering the taunt about Brahma, Prasad said, “Narendra Modi is the creator of a new India of clean governance, of a rising India, and he does all that as the pradhan sevak of the country.”
Accusing the Congress of walking away from the debate on demonetisation when the party found that the BJP was presenting “facts after facts”, the minister said, “The Congress has destroyed democratic institutions in this country…. Emergency was the ultimate denigration of Parliament.”