Jolt to opposition unity as  Netaji backs debate

Congress isolated but refuses to relent .

New Delhi : The opposition unity, so visible after the suspension of Congress MPs from Lok Sabha, lay shattered on Monday as SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav insisted on a debate and stressed ”everyone” wanted the house to function. With the Congress refusing to play ball, the house failed to discharge much work but Mulayam”s intervention did bring a smile on the govt”s face. Top ministers took a cue from the developments to slam Sonia and Rahul Gandhi for adopting an ”obstructionist” attitude.

Netaji Mulayam Singh Yadav adopted quite a statesmanlike stance on Monday when parliament resumed for the last week of the wash out monsoon session. Rising to make a point when Congress leaders were shouting constant slogans and displaying placards in the well, Yadav said he and many others wanted the house to function. He requested the Speaker to find a way out of the impasse by talking to people from ”both sides”. ”Democracy ka matlab manmaani nahi”, he remarked in an attempt to blame rigidity on both sides. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan reminded him that she had already initiated dialogue a few times but without any results. Yadav again volunteered to come and sort out the matter even as Mahajan asked him to first speak to the Congress floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge.

Meanwhile, Kharge and his party men continued to protest against the rejection of their adjournment motion on Lalitgate. At Yadav”s insistence, Speaker Mahajan adjourned the question hour and called a meeting of various party leaders in her office. Those who attended included all opposition parties TMC, RJD, JDU, NCP, AAP, TRS, YSRCP and CPM besides SP. Sources said Mulayam urged the Speaker to admit the adjournment motion in order to start a debate.

On his request the Speaker called the absent Congress leaders towards the end of the meeting. Besides Kharge, Jyotiraditya Scindia and KC Venugopal did join the meeting but refused to relent from their position. The Congress has been sticking to the demand that a discussion on Lalitgate is not acceptable till External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tenders her resignation.

Though Mulayam”s intervention did little to resume work in the house, the govt tried its best to exploit the chink in the opposition armour to attack the Congress High Command. Finance Minister Arun Jailtey said ”When most political parties want discussion, Congress party is trying to avoid and making full endeavour to disrupt it.” Without naming either Sonia or Rahul Gandhi, Jaitley said only two leaders in the Congress were holding up things in parliament while the rest of the party wanted an end to the impasse. However, SP sources later clarified that their party chief Mulayam Singh”s stand should not be misinterpreted. He had neither broken ranks nor supported the govt. His only concern was to help find a solution to the logjam.

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