The Congress today said the President’s address to the joint sitting of Parliament was “deeply disappointing” as it made claims contrary to ground realities. Congress’s senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said the government’s claims made in the President’s address were “hollow and devoid of logic”. “The President’s address to both Houses of Parliament has been deeply disappointing, insipid and it makes claims which are contrary to ground realities and known facts,” he said. Talking to reporters, he said an impression is sought to be given that under the watch of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and this government, all the commitments made to the people of India had been honoured and fulfilled, whereas the truth was far different. Asked about the triple talaq bill and the plea made by the President and the prime minister for its passage, he said though the party supports the bill it should pass through legislative scrutiny. “We have earlier also said we are in full support of the Bill. However, the Bill should pass through legislative scrutiny. This government has made a habit of avoiding legislative scrutiny,” he alleged. He demanded that the government bring a provision in the Bill for providing financial assistance to Muslim women whose husbands face criminal action under the Bill. Sharma also said that if the prime minister was serious about the cause of empowerment of women, he should help secure the passage of women’s reservation bill in Lok Sabha, where his party had a majority. The Congress leader alleged that the “hasty” imposition of “flawed” Goods and Services Tax (GST) had led to sharp decline in the GDP and jobs as promised had not been created but destroyed. “It was time for the government to give an account, but surely the President’s address could not have given an account of non-performance and betrayal of the promises. “This government is in denial and therefore will not be in a position to improve the situation on all fronts including alleviation of agrarian distress,” he said. Sharma said the President spoke about the government’s fight against corruption, but “our question and charge against this government is that they are not sincere.
Why they have not appointed Lokpal? The law is there. What has prevented Narendra Modi and his government from appointing a Lokpal in the last almost four years?” On the issue of the possible impeachment of the Chief Justice of India as proposed by the CPI(M), he said that the Opposition leaders would meet to deliberate on all issues. “There are concerns about the functioning of the judiciary, and Parliament is the right forum to take up the matter. But it is also a sensitive issue. That’s why in-depth deliberations and examinations of the matter are required before a final call can be taken. But surely, Parliament must discuss,” he said. Congress leader Rajeev Shukla said his party was suggesting that the criminality part in the triple talaq bill should be looked into and the government should be open to new ideas. “We will not oppose the bill in Rajya Sabha. We want the government to talk to the Opposition and make corrections and then bring the bill,” he said.