Parliament / Photo: PTI
New Delhi: The proceedings in Parliament were disrupted for the third straight day on Wednesday as the political slugfest between the BJP and the Congress over Rahul Gandhi's democracy remarks and the Adani issue intensified and the opposition parties took to the streets.
The BJP stepped up the ante against Gandhi, saying India's democracy is not in peril but the Congress party has been brought to "political perish" by the people while the opposition party escalated its offensive, accusing the government of "undermining and weakening" democracy in the country by stalling Parliament to save a businessman.
The Congress along with several other opposition parties also took out a protest march from Parliament House to hand over a complaint to the Enforcement Directorate on the Adani issue. However, they were stopped by the police at Vijay Chowk.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that the police did not allow the opposition MPs of around 18 parties to march in protest and present their case for a detailed investigation into the Adani issue.
Later, opposition leaders emailed a letter to ED Director S K Mishra. The parties told the probe agency that "it cannot turn around and abdicate its jurisdiction".
The letter was signed by leaders of the Congress, CPI, CPI-M, JDU, SS (UBT), RJD, DMK, JMM, AAP, IUML, VCK, Kerala Congress and others.
The logjam continued in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
In Lok Sabha, opposition members stormed into the Well of the House, raising placards and slogans, demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Adani matter while the BJP slammed Rahul, accusing him of insulting India and cast aspersion against the Speaker of the House.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla repeatedly urged the members to return to their seats and allow the house to run.
"This house is meant for holding discussions and dialogues. Let's talk about policy and have a good discussion on issues related to public welfare. If we want people's welfare and consider this house a temple of democracy, I will request that at least don't comment on this house," Birla said.
"It is not right to comment, either inside (the house) or outside. Talk about issues and policy here. It is not right to bring placards like this here. I am warning you. This is wrong," he said.
Rajya Sabha proceedings were also disrupted amid uproar over the BJP's demand for Gandhi's apology for his "democracy under attack" remark made in London.
Both houses have failed to transact business so far in the second leg of the Budget session of Parliament that began on Monday.
Gandhi, during his recent UK visit, had alleged that the structures of Indian democracy were under "brutal attack" and there was a full-scale assault on the country's institutions.
His remarks triggered a massive political row, with the BJP accusing him of maligning India on foreign soil and seeking foreign interventions and the Congress hitting back, citing instances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising internal politics abroad.
Outside the Parliament also, the BJP kept the heat on Rahul Gandhi with Union minister Smriti Irani saying India's democracy is not in peril but the Congress party has been brought to "political perish" by the people for the kind of behaviour its leader (Rahul Gandhi) exhibited overseas,
Gandhi's grudge with Prime Minister Modi has taken the shape of a grudge with India, she charged, demanding that the Wayanad MP of the Congress apologise to Parliament for his remarks.
Addressing a press conference, Irani alleged that "at the feet of India's colonial past" Gandhi lamented the "lack of foreign intervention" in India's democracy. This is to bring to a halt India's resilient growth story under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, she said.
She said the "lies that became a foundation of the Congress leader's conversation in England" were many. PTI