Parliament’s Monsoon session washed out, GST bill not passed

India's Parliament building . All is not well within
India's Parliament building . All is not well within

NEW DELHI (TIP): The monsoon session of Parliament, which saw protests between the government and the opposition, has been a complete washout.

A day after intensified sloganeering by the Congress party and war of words between Sushma Swaraj and Rahul Gandhi, both houses — Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha adjourned sine die. Centre’s most important reform bill, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill, remained in the Upper House without it being passed.

From day 1 of the monsoon session, the Congress had stepped up its agitation demanding the resignations of Swaraj and Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje in the Lalit Modi controversy and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the Vyapam scam. But the government had made it clear that there wouldn’t be any resignations and requested the Congress to agree to a debate and discussion. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi told reporters today that PM Narendra Modi is scared and that the Congress will put pressure on the government to bring back Lalit Modi. However, the Congress insisted first on resignations of the concerned persons. During the course of the session, 25 Congress lawmakers were suspended by the Speaker for five days for raising slogans and carrying placards despite the Speaker telling not to do so. That move compelled senior Congress leaders to protest outside the Parliament. Congress president Sonia Gandhi had called it the ‘murder of democracy.’

On Wednesday, the Congress finally moved an adjournment motion demanding a debate on the Lalit Modi affair to which Swaraj readily said yes. Eventually, there was a war of words between Swaraj and the Congress lawmakers. Swaraj denied all charges and hit back at the Congress reminding them of the controversies the party has been involved in right from Ottavio Quattrochi to Warren Anderson. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reiterated at the end of the session that there was no question of Swaraj resigning.

The virtual closing of the monsoon session without any major business being transacted is a blow to the government which was looking to get major pending legislations, including the GST bill, passed in both houses of Parliament so as to get the economy back on track. The Congress, on the other hand, has been aiming to play the role of the main opposition party in the Lok Sabha even though its numbers are small.

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