The Congress is likely to continue its protest over the Delhi riots until the Union government agrees to a discussion on the issue in both Houses of Parliament, a senior party functionary said on Monday, adding that a final call on the party’s strategy would be taken at a meeting on Tuesday morning after consulting other opposition parties.
There were claims and counterclaims from the Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that their members were assaulted in the Lok Sabha, where there was pushing and shoving on Monday — the first day of the second part of the Budget session — during protests and sloganeering over the Delhi violence.
The Congress accused the government of not allowing a debate on the issue; BJP leaders blamed the Congress for creating a ruckus in Parliament and insisted that no discussion is possible if the House is not in order.
“Let the Congress first move a motion for discussion; the House has to be in order for the government to consider the request,” said a senior BJP functionary who asked not to be named.
Setting the tone for further confrontations on the matter, the Congress floor leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Choudhary, said his party will continue to protest in Parliament as it is their duty to “uncover the conspiracy” behind the Delhi riots. “It is our duty to uncover who makes hate speeches, who indulges in killings and what is the conspiracy behind the violence. Democracy was torn to shreds. We were not allowed to speak on the issue,” he said.
“When Delhi was burning, our home minister (Amit Shah) was playing the host in Ahmedabad. Playing a host is fine, but when Indians were being killed, that should have been the priority,” Chowdhury said. His reference was to the ‘Namaste Trump’ programme in Ahmedabad, in which Shah was present.
He said the Congress wants the violence in Delhi to be discussed in Parliament because it is an important issue, which is being talked about across the world.
“We demand that there should be a debate on the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the home minister participating,” the Congress leader added. “We were trying to make this request, but the government did not allow us to do so and kept making one excuse after another. What is surprising is that when Delhi was burning, the ruling party thought that ‘Vivaad Se Vishwas’ bill should be brought. Without asking us, the bill started being discussed.”
The Direst Tax Vivaad se Vishwas Bill, 2020, provides a mechanism for resolution of pending tax disputes related to income tax and corporation tax.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad alleged that riots continued unabated in Delhi for three days, but Union ministers did not make any statement, and did not visit the riot-affected areas.
“Because of that, the police also did not act,” he alleged.
“The central government wanted that those who are dying let them die and those who are being burnt alive, let it happen. Hate speeches were given by leaders of the ruling party which meant that the central government was behind the riots,” Azad said.
All business in Parliament should be adjourned to discuss the issue of Delhi violence, Azad said, hinting at a stormy second day of the second part of the budget session, which will go on till April 3.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) will go with the Congress and support its demand for a discussion on the issue. As far as the Shiv Sena is concerned, its leaders have maintained that the central government, especially the home minister, is answerable on the violence in Delhi and hence should inform Parliament about the entire matter.
The BJP said further action will be decided at the parliamentary party meeting that is scheduled on a Tuesday morning. The meeting is usually attended by the Prime Minister and the party president, apart from the MPs.