New Delhi: Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s barb of ‘whim and fancies’ for the disruption of Parliament by opposition, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday retorted, “Let him say what he wants.”
At an event on Thursday, PM Modi had said it was a “matter of sorrow” that Parliament was not running because “not just the GST bill, but many pro-poor steps” were stuck.
“You must have seen that these days this (disruptions) is being seen more. Meri Marji (I will do what I want). I will do whatever comes to my mind. Does the country run like this?” the prime minister said in his sharpest comments yet since the winter session began two weeks ago.
The protests and disruptions continue today. There have been repeated adjournments in the Rajya Sabha because of Congress protests against what it calls ‘vendetta politics’ in connection with the National Herald case, in which the Gandhis have to appear in court on December 19. The petitioner is the BJP’s Subramanian Swamy.
The chaos means that the government’s flagship reform, the GST or Goods and Services Tax is in trouble. The bill needs to be passed in Parliament to meet the April deadline for its implementation. The government needs the support of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha, where it is in a minority.
Last evening, PM Modi shared the stage with the Congress president and was seen shaking hands with Rahul Gandhi at senior Maharashtra politician Sharad Pawar’s 75th birthday celebrations.
Rahul Gandhi greeted the Prime Minister with a ‘Namaste’ when he was leaving. The two then followed it up with a handshake, their smiles contrasting sharply with the government-opposition acrimony in Parliament.
Both PM Modi and Sonia Gandhi spoke at the function.
“In these days of information technology, Mr Pawar’s networking skills are formidable and these skills are much needed when politics get bitter as it often does,” said Mrs Gandhi.
The PM likened Mr Pawar to farmers who can “sense the weather conditions a bit in advance.”