New Delhi: Unmoved by the fact that Parliament’s session will end in four days with virtually its entire agenda untouched, Rahul Gandhi today reiterated what it will take for his party to call off its disruptions.
“Parliament will function when Sushma Swaraj discloses details of how much money has been deposited in your family’s account by Lalit Modi,” said Mr Gandhi, whose party, the Congress, has blocked Parliament with daily and aggressive protests.
That has put important legislation on ice. The Congress says Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj misused her office by secretly intervening to help tainted billionaire Lalit Modi get urgent travel papers from the UK last year. Ms Swaraj’s husband and lawyer have membered in Lalit Modi’s retinue of lawyers. The Congress says that exposes a deep conflict of interest.
Last week, Ms Swaraj told Parliament that she had informed UK officials that relations with India would not be affected if Lalit Modi was allowed to accompany his wife, a cancer patient, for treatment to Portugal. The fact that Ms Swaraj did not disclose this till it erupted in the media a few weeks ago reveals her collusion in wrongdoing, the Congress has alleged.
The party, which has a meagre count of 44 MPs, has refused the government’s offer to allow a debate on the controversy, which would see a statement by the Prime Minister. “The Congress party feels either it is my way or the highway,” said Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad about the protracted deadlock.
The Congress also wants the resignations of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for allegedly illicit support to Lalit Modi and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, embattling allegations of a major exam and job fraud in Madhya Pradesh.
The BJP has warned Mr Gandhi repeatedly of criminal defamation lawsuits for his comments on Ms Swaraj. He has said he’s willing to take his chances.