It was the government’s turn in the Lok Sabha on Friday to turn the tables on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi over the Amethi food park issue.
The attack was two-pronged. First, BJP member Kirit Somaiya wrote to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan alleging a breach of privilege by Rahul by “misleading” the House and requested her to refer the matter to the Privileges Committee or the Protocol Committee. Two, the government fielded Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal to counter Rahul on facts with regard to the points made by him during Zero Hour on Thursday.
Rahul was not in the House and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who was present earlier, had left by the time both Badal and Somaiya spoke. Notwithstanding their absence, all hell broke loose the moment Somaiya went on an offensive against Rahul. They stormed the Well and tried to shout him down. The same happened when Badal held forth, but she also had her say through the din.
Rahul, according to Badal, had “tried to mislead the nation and mislead the people of his constituency.” She sought to “set the record straight because the Congress which has no issues is now practising the politics of deception and this deception needs to be cleared for the people to know that Rahul Gandhi does not do his homework and then speaks untruth to the people of the nation.” She said the “truth” needed to be told about “a leader who returns from a five-star holiday by a first-class flight and talks of potatoes.” She said, “The project was cancelled on July 11, 2014…..Were you sleeping for 10 months?”
She said Rahul had done little in the matter after the food park was given permission way back in 2010. She said the developers of the food park had not even laid the foundation by 2012 for which they had been served with a show-cause notice. The promoters wanted gas supply at concessional rates, but the then Petroleum Minister in 2013 had rejected the request. Though the project was supposed to be complete within two years, it had not been completed even in four years. This, despite the fact that his party was in power.
Somaiya made similar points and appealed to the government to clarify the matter and “close down their shop of politics (rajniti ki dukan).” This charged up the already protesting Congress members, including Rajiv Satav, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Deepender Hooda and Ravnit Singh Bittu.
BJP members, on the other hand, started thumping their desks. The same situation prevailed when Badal spoke, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House.
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