Why Congress believes it turned the winter
session to its advantage
Standard, December 25, 2015
On Wednesday, the
last day of the winter session, Parliamentary Affairs Minister
Venkaiah Naidu lambasted the Congress for ?paralysing?
Parliament on a ?day-to-day basis?. ?It seems they (Congress)
are intolerant towards the mandate of the people in the last Lok
Sabha elections,? he said.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has gone all
out to project the Congress as a disruptive force that wants to
stall the country?s economic progress, the latter believes it
has succeeded in ?exposing? the Narendra Modi-led government?s
?political vendetta?. The Sonia Gandhi-led party also thinks it
has been able to stonewall the BJP government?s reforms agenda,
despite having a modest bench strength of 44 members.
While India Inc and the Centre hit out at the Congress for being
a roadblock to the goods and services tax (GST) Constitutional
amendment Bill, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi used every
opportunity to portray the party was fighting to protect the
common man?s interest. According to the Congress, there should
be a cap on GST rates so that the rates can?t be increased
arbitrarily. The party also kept claiming it?s ?the original
architect of the GST?.
A combative Congress had initially started the session hitting
out at the Modi government on the ?intolerance? issue and
managed to bring other Opposition parties on board in taking on
the Centre. Thereafter, it screamed ?political vendetta? when
Sonia and Rahul Gandhi were issued court summons in the National
Herald case. However, the party did a mid-course correction
after it realised the message going out was that the Congress
was stalling Parliament to protect the Gandhis.
The ?political vendetta? card was soon successfully used to
rally the entire Opposition together to protest against the
overthrowing of the elected Congress chief minister of Arunachal
Pradesh by the state?s governor. The Congress managed to disrupt
one full week?s business in the Rajya Sabha where it has
majority. Not a single Question Hour or Bill was transacted
throughout that period and the Congress got the backing of the
Opposition on what was perceived as ?an attack on the federal
The winter session was beneficial to the Congress in many ways.
For one, it belied the prophecy of political pundits that the
Congress would split after its humiliating defeat in the 2014
elections. It also negated the notion that the Gandhis were
losing their grip on the party. After the Grand Alliance victory
in the Bihar Assembly elections, Rahul Gandhi consolidated his
place and hopes to take on the mantle of party president. The
winter session saw a more vocal and aggressive Rahul taking on
the Centre and Modi.
The party also successfully raked up the issue of Dalit
atrocities. It protested with the Bahujan Samaj Party against
Union minister V K Singh in the Rajya Sabha on his alleged
derogatory remarks on Dalits.
By the end of the winter session, the Congress believes it has
managed to ?expose the double standards? of the BJP regarding
corruption. Jumping on to the bandwagon of the Delhi & District
Cricket Association (DDCA) scam raised by BJP member Kirti Azad
(who has now been suspended from the party) and the Aam Aadmi
Party, the Congress demanded the resignation of finance minister
?Whether we manage to make Jaitley resign or not, is not the
moot issue. What we have succeeded in doing is bursting the
balloon that only the United Progressive Alliance ministers who
were corrupt and that the BJP Cabinet is taint-free. A tall
leader like Jaitley is now ?perceived? to be tainted and the
BJP?s action against Azad has only emboldened our case,? said a
senior Congress leader and strategist.
This news can also be viewed at: