The already tense relationship between the government and the main Opposition party lurched sharply to the brink of total breakdown Tuesday after Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj accused UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi of instigating the treasury benches to disrupt her speech,and announced that the BJP would not attend any meeting convened by either the Speaker or the parliamentary affairs minister for the rest of the session.
The Congress president has no faith in parliamentary traditions and no respect for democratic institutions,she said in an extraordinary attack on Sonia.
Swaraj said the Congress had violated the understanding reached at the meeting called by Speaker Meira Kumar on Monday that she (Swaraj) would be allowed to speak before BJP members walked out to facilitate the passage of the Finance Bill,Appropriations Bill,Railway Budget and Demands for Grants.
Barely two minutes after I started speaking,the Congress president got into action. She incited ministers and her party members to disturb my speech. Strangely,the parliamentary affairs minister was at the forefront. With utmost pain I observed that the Speaker instead of controlling the ruling side,started telling me to wind up. Even she did not protect me, Swaraj said.
With all responsibility,it is my allegation that the UPA chairperson has no faith in Indias parliamentary traditions and no respect for democratic institutions. That was why,she alleged,Congress leaders were denigrating all democratic institutions,be it the CAG,PAC,JPC,CBI or Supreme Court. In Parliament,they dont allow the Opposition to speak, Swaraj said.
Whatever is decided in BAC is not implemented,but whatever Sonia Gandhi decides takes place. It has become clear that what Sonia Gandhi wants will happen in the House.
Swaraj declared that the BJP will neither attend meetings convened by the Speaker nor participate in any talks with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath for the rest of the session.
Referring to the Prime Ministers assertion that the Opposition was making a mockery of democracy by not letting Parliament function,and that the whole world was laughing at India,Swaraj said,The world is laughing because of the governments conduct. The prestige of the country has been dented.
There was a situation of total breakdown in communication and the government was responsible for it,Swaraj said. In reply to questions,she said the countdown for this government has begun.
Asked why the BJP was not bringing a no-confidence motion as suggested by a senior minister,she said,We will talk about it… if that is what he wants.
Asked if there was a way out of the stalemate,Swaraj said the ball was in the governments court. She,however,clarified that the decision to stay away from meetings was only for the ongoing session,and the BJP would review the situation before Parliament meets again.
Reminded that Sonia has led the government charge in the past as well,Swaraj said the situation had escalated to beyond endurance now.