Congress faces acid test in Parliament

The party will find it deeply challenging to target Modi govt over a host of issue as it has a depleted strength in Parliament

New Delhi

Though taunted by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for facing a shortage of issues to target the Modi government in Parliament, the Congress actually has a problem of plenty when the House resumes tomorrow after a weekend Eid break.

There are three clear-cut issues that could create problems for the government. The first is the Gadkari bugging controversy. The issue refuses to die down even after the Union Transport Minister has categorical denied that any listening devices were found at his residence. There have been reports in some section of the media that Gadkari is not the only minister whose place had been bugged. The other names mentioned in this context are that of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Home Minister Rajnath Singh himself.

Indeed, the issue has become complicated as it is the Congress that is demanding a probe and the BJP which wants it to be forgotten. “ If indeed, the snooping took place during the UPA regime, then why should the BJP be hesitant for a probe,” said a senior Congress leader.

That there is more to it than meets the eye is also indicated by the fact that Gadkari’s first reaction to the bugging reports was pretty limited. He merely described the reports as ’speculative’ and kept mum on the actual bugging incident.

The other two issues refer to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure as  Gujarat chief minister. The BJP has always made a big issue of the CAG reports, now the same constitutional authority has pointed out glaring flaws in Modi’s Gujarat model. Of course, the govern-ment side will argue that this is an issue related to a state and cannot be discussed in Parliament, but then this is something that pertains to the Prime Minister.

The third issue is in the same category and pertains to details regarding Modi’s claims of supplying 24×7 electricity to villages in Gujarat. He also made a mention of his lofty success when he replied to the debate on the motion of thanks for the President’s address. Deliberately misleading the house on facts is a grave charge, but the point is whether the Congress would be able to press it home. It can move a motion for breach of privilege, but once it takes that route then there can be no discussion on the floor of the house.

It is in this context that Congress which has a depleted strength in the Lok Sabha and sooner or later would find that its demand for the status of leader of opposition is rejected by the speaker, would be on test in the next few days.

Anil Sharma

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