Sonia raises pitch,tells Cong MPs to fight BJP ‘blackmail’

Coal: Says govt ready for debate but BJP acting ‘irresponsibly’; House disrupted

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: August 29, 2012 1:20:51 am

Congress president Sonia Gandhi took the battle over the coal block allocations into the Opposition camp on Tuesday,exhorting party MPs to “fight with a sense of purpose and fight aggressively”,saying they had “nothing to feel defensive about” in the run-up to the Assembly elections.

“The proper forum for (debate) is an active and involved Parliament,not one that is held to ransom by blackmail,which has become the political bread and butter of the BJP,” she told MPs at a Congress parliamentary party meeting.

Hours after Sonia’s combative stand,Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal termed the disruption of House proceedings by the Opposition as “nothing short of fascism”. “It is a diabolical decision to subvert the system. Only a minority is imposing its views on the rest of the people. They say they are fine in their self-proclaimed majestic isolation. You are negating the entire system of governance… This is nothing short of fascism,” Bansal told reporters.

After the CPP meeting,Sonia was seen urging Congress MPs in the Lok Sabha too to counter the Opposition’s sloganeering. The Congress MPs were soon standing up at their seats or in the aisle trying to shout down BJP MPs who were raising slogans like “Koyale ki dalali mein,saari Congress kaali hai”.

Amid heated exchanges,the Lok Sabha was first adjourned till noon and later till 2 pm before it was adjourned for the day without transacting any business for the sixth consecutive day. The Rajya Sabha could not transact any business either due to disruptions.

Addressing the CPP meeting,Sonia accused the BJP of holding Parliament to “ransom by blackmail” and acting with “wanton irresponsibility”,and sought to put some of the blame for the perceived policy paralysis in the UPA regime on the Opposition. “Many economic policies require a larger understanding and agreement both within the UPA and with other political parties as well. We are striving sincerely for this consensus both within and outside the UPA. In a democracy,debate and discussion are the only way forward. But the Opposition,especially the principal opposition party,has to come forth and show a sense of responsibility,” said the Congress chief.

“It is a matter of regret,of even shame,that at a time when serious issues are affecting our people and our country,Parliament is not being allowed to function… This is the handiwork of just one party — the BJP. This once again shows up the scant respect it has for democratic values. What else can we conclude when its senior-most leader refers to our government as illegitimate,thereby mocking the people of India for the convincing mandate they have given us,” said Sonia.

Asserting that the government and Prime Minister were always prepared for a debate and discussion on any issue,on any CAG report,or,for that matter,“any perceived shortcoming on their part”,Sonia said: “How many times will we have to witness this deliberate and cynical disruption that the BJP has made a habit of?… This attitude of ‘our way or no way’ makes a mockery of the vision of our founding fathers and of the Constitutional framework they so painstakingly built for us.”

Sonia added that even the BJP allies were “concerned” over how it was holding Parliament “to ransom by blackmail”.

The PM’s statement in Parliament on coal block allocation “exposes the BJP and its false propaganda”,she said.

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