With daily disruptions washing out proceedings of the winter session of Parliament that ends Friday, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi mounted a direct attack Wednesday on the leader of the ruling coalition, claiming he had “detailed information” on the “personal corruption” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said he was not being allowed to speak in the House because the Prime Minister was “terrified” of the information in his possession.
The government and the BJP hit back almost immediately, saying the Congress leader was “frustrated… desperate” and his allegations were the “biggest joke of the year”. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said: “The allegations against the Prime Minister are false and baseless. They were made out of desperation and he (Rahul) should apologise to the nation. If he had any information, he (Rahul) would have said it by now. He is saying this out of frustration. Today, they are saying they are not being allowed to speak. It is wrong because every day Congress members are coming to the well of the House. Now they are making trying to spread rumour and baseless allegations.”
Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju called Rahul’s allegations the “biggest joke of the year”. The Congress vice president did not elaborate on his remarks and fellow Opposition leaders, who appeared with him at a hurriedly called press conference in Parliament after Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day, appeared clueless.
Flanked by leaders of the Trinamool Congress, CPM, NCP and RSP and surrounded by Congress MPs, Rahul said: “The Prime Minister is personally terrified of me being allowed to open my mouth inside Lok Sabha because I have information on the Prime Minister that is going to burst his balloon.”
“It is personal information about Narendra Modi… The Prime Minister, read my lips, the Prime Minister is personally terrified of the information that I have, that we have with us. It is personal corruption of the Prime Minister that we have detailed information on,” he said.
Trinamool Congress’s Sudip Bandyopadhyay claimed the Opposition was being “gagged” and “the parliamentary democratic system is now under threat” only to stop Rahul Gandhi from speaking. Asked why he was not revealing the information, Rahul said “because I want to say it in Lok Sabha. I want to place it in the House.”
He said the entire Opposition wants a debate in Parliament and had asked the Speaker to allow the discussion. “Pretty much unconditionally, we are ready to have a discussion but the government is not interested in having a discussion… I would request the government to allow the entire Opposition to speak in the House because he (the Prime Minister) owes this country an explanation. He has taken a decision against the poor people of this country. He has destroyed millions of lives and he is answerable, he has personally taken this decision and he cannot keep running away from the House,” he said.
“He cannot keep running away to pop concerts, to public meetings. This is a democracy, he owes the country an explanation and he owes us, the entire Opposition, a space in the discussion in Lok Sabha,” Rahul said. Bandyopadhyay said 15 parties together had requested the Speaker to let them hold a debate on demonetisation without conditions. “There is a campaign that Rahul Gandhi would speak and the Opposition would not allow the House to function afterwards. This is totally incorrect,” he said.
CPM’s P Karunakaran said: “The government is not willing to answer questions. The Prime Minister is accountable to Parliament but he has not come to Lok Sabha. It is very clear that they are not ready to answer to the questions raised. The Prime Minister is running away from Parliament, which means he is running away from the people.”
I dare you: Kejriwal to Rahul
NEW DELHI: AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday dared Rahul Gandhi to “expose” the Prime Minister if he had documents.”If Rahul Gandhi actually has papers on Modiji’s personal involvement in corruption, then why doesn’t he expose it outside Parliament? Friendly match — BJP says they have AgustaWestland against Congress. Congress says they have Sahara/Birla against BJP. Both don’t disclose,” he tweeted.