BJP & Cong Lower House Hos­til­i­ties

Pact to let Par­lia­ment func­tion & con­fine hos­til­i­ties to sound­bytes out­side Need for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions by CBI

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Delhi: Af­ter Wed­nes­day’s war cry against each other by the BJP and Congress over the Agus­taWest­land chop­per deal, all that Par­lia­ment wit­nessed on Thurs­day weretwoskir­mishes,bar­ring­which both the Lok Sabha and the Ra­jya Sabha func­tioned smoothly, trig­ger­ing spec­u­la­tion among se­nior politi­cians that the archri­vals had in­for­mally scripted a cease-fire deal.

Both­sidesal­soshowedno­hur­ryin press­ing their re­spec­tive pend­ing no­tices, de­mand­ing struc­tured dis­cus­sions in the Houses on the chop­per deal. Sources said the vis­i­ble change of mood fol­lowed an un­pub­li­cised meet­ing be­tween se­nior rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the gov­ern­ment and Congress. A truce­was­made at a meet­ing on Wed­nes­day in par­lia­men­tary af­fairs min­is­ter M Venka­iah Naidu’s of­fice in Par­lia­ment,where­fi­nancem­i­nis­ter Arun Jait­ley, leader of op­po­si­tion in the RS, Ghu­lam Nabi Azad, and his deputy Anand Sharma, apart from Naidu, were present. The meet­ing came af­ter top lead­ers of both par­ties be­gan fight­ing in­side and out­side Par­lia­ment, threat­en­ing to con­sume the rest of the ses­sion, be­sides hit­ting sen­si­tive tar­gets. The meet­ing had the en­dorse­ment of the top lead­er­ship of both par­ties.

Sources privy to the devel­op­ment said both sides felt the need to draw a ‘lak­sh­man rekha’ fol­low­ing a re­al­i­sa­tion that the mud­sling­ing was not ex­actly cov­er­ing ei­ther party in glory. While se­niors publicly asked onTues­dayandWed­nes­day­pointed ques­tions on the con­duct of their ri­vals, there was one com­mon de­mand: The need for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion­sin­totheis­sue­byCBI­to­book the cul­prits. This in­di­cated that both sides agreed on con­tin­u­ing the CBI probe than in­dulge in in­ternecine wars in Par­lia­ment and the need to con­cen­trate on the pend­ing leg­isla­tive busi­nesses. Both par­ties also recog­nise that there is nei­ther any clinch­ing ev­i­dence nor a clearcut ver­dict in Italy to rush to con­clu­sions on the real cul­prit.

“Un­less un­war­ranted provo­ca­tions from cer­tain quar­ters is not con­trolled, we are for the func­tion­ing of Par­lia­ment,” said a source privy to the devel­op­ment. The Congress also chose not to rake up the Ut­tarak­hand is­sue, point­ing to the lin­ger­ing court pro­ceed­ings.

Thurs­day’s ‘calm’ was along an agreed script. Af­ter Wed­nes­day’s ‘build-up’, the only ac­tion on the Agusta is­sue were­jus­ta­cou­ple of skir­mishes, leav­ing the sound-bytes for lead­ers out­side — BJP c h i e f Amit Shah’s at­tack of Gand­his, Congress’ coun­ter­at­tack and the de­fence min­is­ter’s re­but­tal of his pre­de­ces­sor AK Antony. Even when Subra­ma­nian Swamy re­ferred to the is­sue, not many BJP MPs backed him. The House then pro­ceeded with the rest of the busi­ness, in­clud­ing pass­ing the SC bill and com­plet­ing a dis­cus­sion on jew­ellers’de­mand­with­the­fi­nancem­i­nis­ter’s re­ply. Sim­i­larly, af­ter the LS wit­nessed a smooth ques­tion hour and Zero Hour, Meenakshi Lekhi briefly raised the is­sue. Congress leader Mal­likar­jun Kharge protested and urged the Speaker not to al­lowher­toraisethe­mat­ter.Soon­after the Congress protest, the Speaker ad­journed the House for lunch­break­fol­low­ing­whichdis­cus­sionon de­mands for grants took place.

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