Shiv Sena (UBT) keeps off Opposition protests
DECCAN CHRONICLE | DC Correspondent
NEW DELHI: Cracks appeared in Opposition once again on Monday when the Shiv Sena (UBT faction) stayed away from the dinner meeting of all Opposition MPs at the residence of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge. The Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) also didn’t attend the joint Opposition protest at the Gandhi statue and the march to Parliament but it attended the morning Opposition meeting at Mr Kharge’s chamber at Parliament House. The Shiv Sena (UBT) is upset over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks about Veer Savarkar.
In the pre-lunch session, the Opposition MPs, wearing black clothes to protest against Mr Gandhi’s disqualification from Lok Sabha, created a ruckus over the Adani issue and the government’s disinclination to set up a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe the issue. The Rajya Sabha, meanwhile, returned the Finance Bill as well as the Jammu and Kashmir Budget 2023-24 and appropriation bills to the Lok Sabha without any discussion. With this, the Finance Bill has cleared both Houses of Parliament.
In a first in this session, the Trinamul Congress (TMC) on Monday attended a Congress-led Opposition strategy meet and was also part of the protest against the Adani issue and Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification as a Lok Sabha MP. "The BJP has crossed the line. Democracy, Parliament, federalism and the Constitution have to be saved. The Opposition is united in this cause. It’s also about graciousness on all sides," said Derek O’Brien, TMC parliamentary party leader in the Rajya Sabha. But instead of the TMC’s floor leaders, two of its MPs were in attendance at both events. After Rahul Gandhi was disqualified, West Bengal CM and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee said that Opposition leaders have become the "prime targets of the BJP".
Earlier, speaking at a rally in Maharashtra Sunday, former chief minister Uddhav Thackrey said: "Savarkar is our idol and his insult will not be tolerated if we have to fight together to protect our democracy." He added: "I want to tell Rahul Gandhi that we have come together to save our country’s democracy and its Constitution. But you are deliberately being provoked. If we allow this time to get wasted, then democracy will cease to exist. 2024 will be the last election."
The meeting discussed the way forward on the Adani issue and the aftermath of Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from the Lok Sabha. The Congress has already done a nationwide satyagraha on Sunday. The party wants to fight this issue both politically and legally. At the moment, legal documents are being prepared by Rahul Gandhi’s legal team. Almost all Opposition parties expressed solidarity with Mr Gandhi.
Leaders from DMK, Samajwadi Party, JD(U), BRS, CPI(M), CPI, RJD, NCP, IUML, MDMK, Kerala Congress, TMC, RSP, AAP, NC and Shiv Sena (UBT), among others, met at Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge’s chamber in the morning.