New Delhi: Accusing the government of adopting a “brazen” attitude, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday stuck to the demand for the resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and two BJP chief ministers before parliament could function.
“Let me make it clear that we are not being aggressive just to match the BJP’s aggression of the past. We have been forced to take our position because of the government’s completely brazen attitude,” Gandhi said at a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) here.
A combative Congress president said her party wants both houses to function. “But we are very clear that there can be no productive discussion and no meaningful proceedings as long as those responsible for their wrong-doings remain in office.”
“Our stand is clear and straightforward from day one. There is a mountain of incontrovertible evidence in the public domain for the prime minister to require the resignations of the external affairs minister and the two chief ministers,” she said.
She attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his silence on any issue taking a controversial turn, notably the recent ones involving the external affairs minister and two chief ministers.
She said: “Parliamentary majority does not give anyone a license to escape accountability.”
Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje have been linked to the controversy over travel documents being given to former IPL chief Lalit Modi, while Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been linked to the Vyapam scam.
“The ‘#MannKibaat’ man appears to retreat into a ‘Maun Vrat’ (vow of silence) whenever there is a scandal involving his colleagues,” she said.
Gandhi said while the prime minister never missed an opportunity to claim the moral high ground on transparency, integrity and accountability, he maintained a “deafening silence” on some blatant transgressions by his party leaders.
Taking on the BJP over its disruptive politics in parliament during the last period of the UPA regime, she said: “Today, we have to listen to sermons on parliamentary behaviour from those who not only defended but also advocated disruption as a legitimate tactic when they were in the opposition.”
“Yesterday’s agitators in both the houses have suddenly become today’s champions of debate and discussion. Memories are short and therefore we need to remind our political adversaries who are today conveniently suffering from selective amnesia.”
Gandhi accused the government of using its numerical strength as a source of arrogance rather than responsibility.
“First, parliament is by-passed and a spate of ordinances are issued and some re-issued as well. Bills don’t get referred to standing committees. Our voices are stifled. And now this numerical strength is being used to substitute investigation by mere discussion,” she said.
“This is unacceptable to us and we will do all that is necessary to hold this government accountable,” she said.