Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday rejected charges of “internal rebellion” made by senior BJP leader and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while assuring that all is well within the party.
Brushing aside Jaitley’s comments, Sonia said, “Let them say whatever they want to.”
The reaction from Sonia Gandhi came minutes after the ruling side gave a sharp response to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s uncharacteristic display of aggression in Lok Sabha over no debate on rising communal violence in the country by terming it as “pure frustration” and nothing else.
Questioning Rahul Gandhi’s strange behaviour, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said, “Why has Congress made an issue of this non-issue. Reason is clear, a section of the party, unable to lead, is facing a palace coup.”
Rejecting Rahul Gandhi’s charge that only ”one man’s voice counts”, Jaitley further said, “Those who don’t speak in the House accuse us of not allowing them to speak.”
The reactions from the senior BJP leader came shortly after the Congress-led Opposition created a ruckus demanding a debate over rising incidents of communal riots in parts of Uttar Pradesh and the ongoing UPSC row.
Minutes after the Lower House resumed normal business, Congress MPs, led by their vice president Rahul Gandhi and supported by other Opposition parties, raised slogans and demanded the introduction of the bill against communal violence.
The Congress MPs also thronged to the well of the House and sought a debate on the communal riots in Uttar Pradesh.
Congress MPs were seen pressing the Lok Sabha Speaker to suspend the Question Hour, so that a debate on rising communal tension in various parts of the country could be initiated.
“We are not being allowed to speak in the Parliament, we wanted a discussion,” Rahul Gandhi said while attacking the BJP government.
The Congress vice president also accused the Lok Sabha Speaker of favouring the ruling party, saying “Speaker is not allowing us to speak, only one man’s voice is being heard.”
A visibly upset Speaker then asked Rahul Gandhi to give examples of specific incidents of communal violence and cautioned him not to make general statements.
The BJP was also quick to counter Rahul Gandhi’s charge. “Rahul Gandhi calling the Speaker ‘partial’ is unfortunate and avoidable,” Rajiv Pratap Rudy of the BJP said adding, “It is pure frustration and nothing else.”
On its turn, the Government assured the House that it is ready for a debate or discussion on any issue.
“There is peace in the country, let peace prevail in Parliament,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said, adding, “We are ready for any debate.”
Naidu made this remark referring to Congress leader Mallikarjun Khrge’s allegation that communal tension has risen in the country ever since the BJP government has come to power.
The ruling side also hit back, asking the Congress leaders to follow the rules and then seek a debate on issues concerned.
However, with the din continuing, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House till noon.
It was also reported that BJP patriarch LK Advani is upset with the turn of events in Lok Sabha today and has asked the NDA floor managers to resolve the issue.
Later, Mahajan also reacted to Rahul Gandhi’s charge of being ”biased” towards the ruling side.
“I try that everyone gets an opportunity to speak in Question Hour, try to listen to every member of the House. I try to give everyone a chance to express their point of view,” the Lok Sabha Speaker said.