Congress MP Shashi Tharor, who recently faced Sonia Gandhi’s ire, was today seen in Lok Sabha engrossed in an animated discussion with Rahul Gandhi who was playing an active role in guiding his party’s protesting members in the House which saw some business despite the din.
The Congress Vice President was seen gesturing to Shashi Tharoor and discussing something with him while several Congress members were in the Well shouting slogans and demanding ouster of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
All Congress members had black bands on right arm, apparently as a mark of protest against government’s refusal to accept their demands.
Rahul Gandhi, while standing in the aisle along with Tharoor, was seen giving directions to the party members as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan took up the scheduled business and allowed members to speak on Gurdaspur terror attack despite the din.
Shashi Tharoor was also consulted on a note which his colleague Jyotiraditya Scindia wrote in consultation with party chief Sonia Gandhi after Leader of Congress Mallikarjun could not have a say when a number of members spoke on the Punjab attack. Tharoor, the member from Kerala, was seen adding something to that note.
Only last week, Shashi Tharoor had disapproved of disruptions in Parliament, for which he was snubbed by the Congress chief.
When a number of MPs spoke on Gurdaspur attack in the House today, Kharge wanted to join them even though his party colleagues were in the Well shouting slogans.
Congress members were heard telling the Speaker that Kharge too wants to condemn the incident and be allowed.
A visibly annoyed Speaker rebuffed them, saying he should first ensure withdrawal of his party colleagues who were holding placards against rules and shouting slogans. “Both cannot go together,” she said.
At this, Kharge was heard telling the Speaker, “you gave chance to others and not me. I see partiality in this.”
“We want justice,” was the chant of agitating Congress members who carried placards, including one which read “shameless government, voiceless prime minister”.
Other placards read: “Modiji 56 inch dikhao, Sushma, Raje ko turant hatao (Modiji show 56 inch chest and immediately remove Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje), “Bade Modi meharban toh chhote Modi pehalwan (With bigger Modi’s blessings, smaller Modi is powerful), ‘Modiji chuppi todo, Sushma ko barkhast karo (Modiji break your silence and remove Sushma)”.
At one point, Rahul Gandhi was seen gesturing to party members, apparently telling them to hold the placards in such a way so that they are visible on the Lok Sabha cameras.
BJP members attacked the Congress over the disruptions with Nishikant Dubey accusing the 44-member party of “holding the House to ransom”.
To hit back, he raked up scams that took place during the previous Congress governments and said the NDA government should come out with a ‘White Paper’ on all cases of corruption between 1952 and 2015.
He said that nobody had been punished for any scam ever since 1952.
Raising the issue of farmers, Hukum Singh (BJP) accused the opposition of “blackmailing” the House by not allowing a discussion to take place.
To this, the Speaker said that “they (Opposition has nothing to do with farmers”.
This was the first time since the Monsoon session began on July 21 that the Lok Sabha saw some business being transacted.
The Speaker went ahead with the business unmindful of the protests as she repeatedly chided the Congress members for showing placards in the House which was against the rules.