A meeting of leaders from all parties called by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan here Thursday failed to end the Parliamentary logjam. However, Home Minister Rajnath Singh indicated that the government too was ready to convene an all-party meeting to break the ice on political issues.
The Speaker, who had convened the meeting to discuss the enforcement of Rules for conducting proceedings, failed to get an assurance from the Opposition Congress that its members would not display placards in the House.
Mahajan told reporters after the meeting that she wanted a consensus against “undignified” modes of protests, like members raising placards in the House or rushing into the Well, and claimed that most parties agreed with her views.
“It is a positive beginning,” she said when asked if such protests would end now.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge made it clear that the House would not function unless External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan chief ministers, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Vasundhara Raje respectively, resigned. He also cited data pertaining to the 14th and the 15th Lok Sabha to show how much time was lost when the BJP was in the Opposition.
Kharge said it was the government’s responsibility to run the House and criticised the government for not reaching out to the Opposition even once since the session began on July 21.
He sarcastically remarked that the Congress was only following the “traditions” set by the likes of L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, who had termed disruptions of Parliament a “legitimate tactic” to pressurise the government.
TMC leader Sudip Bandhyopadhyay said: “The government is very undemocratic. Why has Prime Minister Narendra Modi not opened his mouth?”
Rajnath, however, made it clear that the government could not accept the Opposition demand for resignation of the External Affairs Minister even before a discussion.