Sonia Gandhi bares her claws , blasts Advani over “illegitimacy” of UPA 2
An angry Congress president Sonia Gandhi was at her combative best after senior BJP leader L K Advani on Wednesday dubbed as “illegitimate” the 2009 election, a remark which he was forced to later retract.
It being the first day for Sushilkumar Shinde as Leader of the Lok Sabha, Ms Gandhi virtually took the reins in her hands and signalled party men to protest vociferously.
Ms Gandhi was seen strongly objecting to the remark, apparently seeking its withdrawal, and her reaction energised party MPs as also those from DMK and Trinamool Congress to counter the BJP. Her aggressive stance prompted Shinde, as also Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, to play on the front foot by assailing the BJP leader over his comments and asking him to make amends.
Ms. Gandhi, who is heading the UPA for the last eight years, was never seen in such a mood since Congress came to power via the coalition route in 2004.
Even after the House was adjourned for lunch, the UPA Chairperson was seen interacting with MPs and Ministers on the issue and making it clear that the Congress and the UPA would not take things lying down on the matter.
Earlier, when the House was not in session, Ms Gandhi had sent out a stern message to party MPs from Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh as she was heard telling them that they should not embarrass the party by waving placards and raising slogans in the House. Her remarks came shortly after the MPs had waved placards demanding a separate Telangana which, along with disturbances on other issues, led to the adjournment of the House for the first time.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tootermed as "disgraceful and unfortunate" L K Advani's remark that UPA-II government was illegitimate. "The remark is disgraceful and unfortunate," Singh told reporters in Parliament when asked to comment on Advani's statement in Lok Sabha.
The BJP leader created a storm in Lok Sabha by dubbing UPA-II as "illegitimate" but withdrew it after strong protests from Congress.
Advani, who came under attack from Congress including its President Sonia Gandhi, later said he was referring to the 2008 confidence vote for which "crores of rupees were spent" to save the government.
Hell broke loose in the House soon after Advani spoke of the UPA-II as illegitimate while initiating a debate on the violence in Assam after Speaker Meira Kumar admitted an adjournment motion on the subject.
"The UPA-II is illegitimate. It has never happened in the history of India ... crores of rupees were never spent to get votes," Advani said, provoking the Treasury benches.
"Advani is a senior leader. We all respect him. But today he has said the entire (2009) election was illegitimate. This is an insult for all of us. I think he should withdraw his words," Shinde said in his first intervention as the Leader of the House.
The Speaker also reminded Advani that she had allowed adjournment motion as people were concerned about the situation in Assam. "But one word used by you has hurt the sentiments of everyone. If you want, you can withdraw it."
Advani admitted that he made a mistake by speaking about UPA-II and what he actually intended to say was the 2008 vote of confidence secured during the UPA-I. "My comments were on the confidence vote and not on election. ... Those who were whistle-blowers were sent to jail."
Responding to the vociferous protests by Congress, DMK and Trinamool Congress members, Meira Kumar had earlier asked Advani to withdraw his remarks and said she would go through the records and expunge any objectionable or unparliamentary word.
- Asian Tribune -