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Government responsible for parliament logjam: Congress

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New Delhi: The Congress on Friday accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of being “intoxicated” with power and held the government responsible for the parliamentary logjam witnessed during the just-concluded monsoon session.

Congress-India“During the just-concluded monsoon session, the BJP government was fully exposed. Though the BJP has the mandate of the people, yet the performance of this government compels one to gather the impression that it might be a good opposition. It has proved itself to be the worst government,” senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said at a press conference here.

Asserting it was evident that the BJP does not believe in democracy, he said: “The party is intoxicated with power.”

No major legislative business could be transacted in either house of the parliament since July 21 when parliament convened till August 13, when it adjourned sine die.

Azad said: “The floor management was pathetic and coordination with opposition parties completely missing”.

“BJP government perhaps thinks that decisive electoral mandate automatically authorizes it to brazenly ignore the opposition and forget the niceties and decencies of parliamentary democracy. That is why it seems to bulldoze the parliament and brazen out most defiantly, notwithstanding the outrage and uneasiness in the country,” he added.

The Congress leader said that so far it was amply clear that the BJP government was more focused on defaming, maligning and ridiculing the opposition and to achieve this end, it uses all means and forums.

Asked about the BJP’s announcement to send a minister each for four Congress MPs to counter the party at the grass-root level, Azad said: “The ministers have been elected to govern and not just counter the opposition. This shows the vengeful attitude of the government.”

Azad also ridiculed the save democracy march held by the National Democratic Alliance on Thursday, saying the ruling party was trying to mislead the people of the country.

“It is no secret that the BJP does not believe in democracy and democratic traditions. Rather, it owes its origin to a fascist philosophy and anti-democratic mindset,” he said.

Congress leader of the house in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the Congress decided to walkout when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was giving a reply to the adjournment motion on the Lalit Modi issue as they (Congress MPs) were sure of not being given a chance to explain their position.

He said that from day one, the Congress was insisting it wanted an adjournment motion. “But they kept postponing it. At last when the government put pressure on the speaker, she agreed.”

“They themselves wanted the house not to function, that is why they did not agree to the discussion for four weeks,” Kharge said.

(IANS)

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Brazil’s President Bolsonaro Faces First Defeat in Congress

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal.

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Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the inauguration ceremony of the new president of the Parliamentary Front of Agriculture (FPA), at the Clube Naval, in Brasilia, Jan. 19, 2019. VOA

Brazil’s lower chamber handed right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro his first defeat in Congress on Tuesday, the day before his government presents its most important legislative proposal to rein in a gaping budget deficit and spur growth.

The house voted overwhelmingly to suspend an executive order by the Bolsonaro government that altered Brazil’s freedom of information law to broaden the number of officials allowed to designate data and documents as secret or ultra-secret.

Lawmakers voted 367 to 57 to fast-track a bill overturning the secrecy measure and government whips were unable to muster votes to avoid defeat.

The bill must still be voted on by the Senate, but the reversal showed that Bolsonaro, who took office on Jan. 1, has not yet been able to organize a coalition in Congress to back his legislative agenda.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro will send to Congress his plan to overhaul Brazil’s generous and costly pension system that eats up more than half of federal spending and is the main factor behind an unsustainable budget deficit.

Brazil, Bolsonaro
FILE – Gustavo Bebianno in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sept. 29, 2018. VOA

Approval of pension reform is vital for the recovery of investor confidence in Latin America’s largest economy.

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal involving campaign financing for some of his party’s congressional candidates in the October elections.

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The ousted minister, Gustavo Bebianno, was instrumental in getting Bolsonaro elected but had a run-in with one of the president’s sons, triggering the weeks-old government’s first cabinet crisis.

In a note to clients, analysts at Eurasia Group said the scandal indicated the administration’s political team was in disarray, but they still expected the pension reform to get passed, albeit in a less ambitious version. (VOA)