NEW DELHI (TIP): The Parliament logjam is nowhere in sight, with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, on August 6, leading her party’s sit-in against the suspension of 25 Congress MPs from Parliament for the third day in a row, prompting a range of reactions across the political spectrum about her reserves of energy. Every day since 25 Congress members were suspended by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for carrying placards to the House, Sonia has been personally finalizing party strategy in a bid to make a statement of aggression and resistance against Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government.
She has been more vocal than ever and has been attacking the PM constantly, with new phrases from “the BJP is committing a murder of democracy” to “what happened to PM’s Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas”.
It was her appeal to other Opposition parties which led to their boycott (which entered the third day today) of the Lok Sabha in solidarity with the Congress’ cause. Her parleys with Opposition top guns even ensured leaders such as JD-U’s Sharad Yadav arrived at Congress protests outside Parliament. He was seen today also.
Even Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, on Sonia’s insistence, asked his MPs to boycott the House. Today, though he sought to distance himself from the Congress politically saying: “I am not with the Congress. I am against the practice of suspending MPs.”
TMC, NCP, Left and JD-U MPs, who boycotted the LS for the third day today, also admitted to Sonia’s initiative resulting in Opposition unity on the issue. Even at the site of protests daily, including today, Sonia is more aggressive than Rahul in making her opposition known.
Today, she was the top agitator raising her hand in slogans against the government while Sharad Yadav, former PM Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi appeared too coy to protest physically.
A Congress MP said privately, “All the while, her hand was up in protest. Not all leaders agitate that way. Soniaji makes sure that her aggression is registered.”
The ongoing protests led by Sonia amid speculations of elevation of Rahul are interesting as they keep the debate about who is a better leader alive in party circles. As another Congress leader says, “Every time Sonia Gandhi leads a protest, a larger opposition unity follows. This happened when she led 14 parties to the President House to agitate against the land Bill. Her leadership is widely acknowledged across the Opposition spectrum. The same can’t yet be said of Rahul Gandhi.”