A stormy Monsoon Session ahead

Top leaders of the BJP find themselves in the web of deep and damaging controversies

Since the Narendra Modi government came into being 14 months ago, no session of Parliament has seemed as threatening to the BJP as the Monsoon Session which commences today. This is due to two reasons.

Top leaders of the BJP find themselves in the web of deep and damaging controversies, and this has hurt its image. As such, Prime Minister Modi and his senior colleagues are doing everything to retrieve some of their elan in Parliament. The second reason is that the Congress, the main Opposition party, now seems to be putting up a far more focused resistance against the excesses of the ruling dispensation. In particular, the party’s vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, is seeking to appear in a new avatar, very different from his earlier image of a reluctant leader.

He will now have the opportunity to make his case in Parliament in front of a huge national audience. This can be his session as much as Mr Modi’s. Many will be waiting to see if he can summon political aggression and tactical balance, and the extent to which the Congress can help forge a common Opposition approach with him as leader. The BJP has already revealed its hand. No minister or party functionary at any level is going to resign. Union home minister Rajnath Singh made this clear some weeks ago, saying this was the NDA, not the UPA.

It is not only Prime Minister Modi who has not uttered a word on any of the disturbing controversies — his external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj seeking quietly to come to the aid of Lalit Modi, a law evader, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje’s equally dubious intercession with the British authorities to show the former cricket entrepreneur some favours, and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s seeming culpability in the widespread Vyapam scam in his state. The RSS top brass is also determinedly quiet. This is a signal to the BJP to battle it out.

On the eve of the Bihar Assembly election, the party has clearly decided not to allow the Opposition to cash in on its vulnerabilities, whatever this may mean for morality in public life. So, the reported plan of the ruling party is to seek to push the Congress on the back foot by pointing fingers at it on grounds of corruption. The governing entity seeking to fight off allegations of taint by calling the Opposition corrupt will no doubt make for extraordinary parliamentary practice.

What about the Parliament’s primary role of law-making? That could be a casualty if predictions of utter disorder in the House come true.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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