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» » » » BJP used AIADMK for Parliament disruption: Jairam Ramesh

Congress MP says the plan was to avoid discussion on scams and no-trust motions.

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, who proposed to the Rajya Sabha Chairman that MPs disrupting Parliament be expelled alleges that regional parties acted at the behest of the government to disrupt proceedings in the previous session. Excerpts from an interview:
You have demanded a special Parliament session now, but the government blames the Congress for the recent washout. What is your response?
I think that is complete hogwash. I think the best description of the second half of the Budget session came from my good friend [Trinamool MP] Derek O’ Brien who said that after the GST, now the government is following GSD, government-sponsored disruptions. I had a different take though and had called it government-organised disruptions, or GOD, but Derek’s was better.
I think the AIADMK was put up by the BJP [to disrupt proceedings] in both the Houses. In the Rajya Sabha, it was put up to prevent a discussion on bank scams and other important issues such as Dalit atrocities and so on. And in the Lok Sabha to prevent a succession of no-confidence motions. This was a well-planned strategy. In the Lok Sabha, they didn’t want the psychological trauma of facing a no-confidence motion.
Are you not taking away the importance of the issues that the regional parties were raising? The Cauvery issue or special status for Andhra Pradesh?
No, these are important issues. The special category issue for Andhra is very important. I don’t deny that the Cauvery issue is very important, particularly for Tamil Nadu.
And what I found most depressing is that this agitation was going on when the Prime Minister was present in the Rajya Sabha. The PM should have got up, and said come to my room. The PM is refusing to meet all-party delegations. Who was doing troubleshooting for this government? Nobody! In fact [Parliamentary Affairs Minister] Ananth Kumar was adding fuel to the fire. It is not the Opposition’s job to run Parliament. There are important national and regional issues to be discussed. We want a discussion on these issues in a special session.
But now there are elections in Karnataka.
So call it after the Karnataka elections.
How will the Congress fare in Karnataka and will the outcome be a reflection on Rahul Gandhi’s leadership?
No, these are State-level elections and Mr. Gandhi is our star campaigner. I am confident we will come back to power. We will come back to power because we have a strong local leader and a strong party organisation. We will come back to power because we have a strong narrative and programmes for the people. We will come back to power because of the campaign mounted by Mr. Gandhi. And we will also come back to power because of Mr. Amit Shah who through a Freudian slip let the truth out of Yeddyuruppa government being the most corrupt! I think the BJP would be much more on the defensive now than it was 12 months ago or 15 months ago.
You played a crucial role in 2004 when the UPA took shape. Do you see parties come together once again for 2019?
In 2004, the Congress came together with a number of parties pre-poll. But the UPA was formed after the polls. Many of these alliances are continuing but whether we go with more parties pre-poll this time remains to be seen. And the big enchilada, of course, is U.P. There the Samajwadi party and the BSP have already announced an alliance.
See, one of the great dilemmas that the Congress faces with alliances is this: we are a national party and have to have a national footprint. We can’t declare VRS in parts where we have an alliance. So we have to be extraordinarily nimble-footed. But if our objective is the dethronement of Mr. Modi, which I think is crucial for the survival of democracy and the idea of India, then a lot of these alliances makes sense!
Unlike 2004, now leaders like Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Telangana CM K. Chandrashekhar Rao have taken the lead?
I do not believe that in 2019 you can form a government without the Congress. That’s a day dream. You can do all the jockeying but ultimately you need to get a good number of seats. I am confident that we will reach a respectable three digit level.

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