Congress Parliamentary Party meeting: Sonia targets government, says MPs’ suspension outrageous

Lashing out at the Centre, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday accused it of being “impervious” to the suffering of the people due to rising prices and alleged that it is “selling off precious national assets” and refusing to allow a discussion in Parliament on the challenges India faces at the borders.

She said the Congress will continue to insist on a discussion in Parliament on challenges facing the agricultural sector and the border situation.

Addressing a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) meeting at Parliament House, Sonia also questioned the government’s Covid-19 vaccination strategy and said the country is nowhere close to reaching the level of double-dose vaccination announced by the government for the end of the year. She also argued that suspension of 12 Opposition Rajya Sabha members for the entire winter session was “outrageous” and “unprecedented.”

On the now-repealed farm laws, she said the repeal was done “undemocratically, just as their passage last year was pushed through without discussion”. She asserted that the Congress remains firm in “our commitment to stand by the farmers in their demands for a legally guaranteed MSP, remunerative prices that meet the costs of cultivation, and compensation to the bereaved families”.

On the issue of rise in prices of essential commodities, she said, “I cannot understand how and why the (Narendra) Modi government is so insensitive and continues to deny seriousness of the problem. It seems impervious to the suffering of the people.”

The Congress president said: “The steps it has recently taken to reduce petrol, diesel, and cooking gas prices are totally insufficient and inadequate. As usual, the government has passed on the responsibility for duty cuts to financially strapped state governments — when it itself has far greater room for action. And all this while, the Centre persists with huge public expenditure on vainglorious projects.”

Accusing the government of being busy selling off national assets such as banks, public sector enterprises, railways and airports, she said, “First, the Prime Minister destroyed the economy with his demonetisation move… He is continuing on that disastrous path, but calling it monetisation.

“Now, he is dismantling the public sector built up over the past 70 years with strategic, economic and social objectives in mind. All that has been given the go-by. And what will happen to employment of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, for instance, if public sector companies and institutions continue to be privatised?”

Talking about the Army ambush in Nagaland, which led to the death of 13 civilians, Sonia said it was not enough for the government to express regret. “Justice for families of the victims has to be ensured at the earliest. Credible steps must be taken to prevent recurrence of such tragedies,” she said.

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