NEW DELHI: Congress-led opposition on Friday prevented Rajya Sabha from functioning by demanding the resignation of road transport minister Nitin Gadkari in light of CAG’s censure of Purti group for failing to repay the loan it took from a government agency, deepening uncertainty about the fate of legislations meant to promulgate a uniform countrywide tax on goods and services and confiscate black money and illicit assets stashed abroad.
RS was adjourned as many as six times as opposition MPs, with those from Congress in the lead, pressed for discussion on CAG report. Congress members shouted slogans and trooped into the well to demand Gadkari’s resignation leading to clashes with BJP members.
Government said it was ready for a wider debate on corruption in general, but the opposition wanted to discuss CAG report on Purti and demanded sacking and arrest of Gadkari.
While Congress members pressed for Gadkari’s resignation shouting “Bhrashta Mantri Istifa Do”, “Gadkari Ishtifa do”, the BJP MPs retorted by sloganeering “Chor Machaye Shor (thief makes noise)”. Government sources also rejected the demand of Gadkari’s resignation saying that if at all, the CAG report in question was an indictment of functioning the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency under UPA. They also emphasized that Gadkari had disengaged himself from Purti group was a mere opposition MLC in Maharashtra at the time IREDA extended loan to Purti and, thus, could not have influenced any decision of a central agency.
Congress’s aggression coincided with the extension of Lok Sabha’s session by three days as well as indications that it could , with the help of non-Congress parties in the opposition, take a realistic shot at the passage of the GST bill. Congress sources conceded that the prospects of the passage of the GST bill has improved because of government’s success in weaning away regional players like SP, BJD, Trinamool Congress and JDU, but insisted that the voting on the legislation will have to wait till Gadkari quits. “Gadkari or GST, government has to decide,” said a senior Congress source.
BJP charged that the sudden protest was meant to derail the passage of GST and black money bills. “It is Congress at its meanest,” lamented a senior minister.
Off-the-record, Congress did not deny that disruptions would help their plan to stop government from passing GST and black money bills, but justified protests by alleging that that BJP also played dirty during UPA’s decade.
Source: The Times of India