It seems Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s veiled dig at continuing protests by the Congress in Parliament has failed to make an impact.
“Let him say what he wants,” said Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday, when asked to comment on Modi’s assertion that democracy cannot function at the “whims and fancies” of anyone.
Without any reference to Congress, which has held protests in both Houses of Parliament over the National Herald case, Modi said democracy cannot be restricted to elections and governments alone and that one of the two main dangers before it is “Mantantra” (functioning as per one’s whims and fancies) with the other being “Dhantantra” (money power).
“You must have seen that these days this (disruptions) is being seen more. Meri Marji (I will do what I want). I will do whatever comes to my mind. Does the country run like this?” the prime minister said in his sharpest comments yet since the winter session began two weeks ago.
The protests and disruptions continued today. There were repeated adjournments in the Rajya Sabha because of Congress protests against what it calls ‘vendetta politics’ in connection with the National Herald case, in which Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have to appear in court on December 19. The petitioner is the BJP’s Subramanian Swamy.
“The National Herald case is driven by PM’s office, we will tackle it legally,” said Rahul Gandhi during a tour of Assam.
The Parliament chaos means that the government’s flagship reform, the GST or Goods and Services Tax is in trouble. The bill needs to be passed in Parliament to meet the April deadline for its implementation. The government needs the support of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha, where it is in a minority.
Last evening, PM Modi shared the stage with the Congress president and was seen shaking hands with Rahul Gandhi at senior Maharashtra politician Sharad Pawar’s 75th birthday celebrations.