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Dear Rahul, stalling Parliament on National Herald is the dumbest idea ever. Here's why ...

Somi Das | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 12:37 IST
  • By stalling Parliament over the National Herald case, the Congress has messed up its Winter Session strategy, which was going well for the party till now with its focus on the VK Singh \"dog remark\" issue.
  • Instead of cornering the BJP on issues of price rise and why it is opposing the Narendra Modi government\'s GST bill, stalling Parliament on an issue that basically concerns individuals doesn\'t make the party\'s moves praise-worthy.
  • Plus, with no support from other Opposition parties (except the TMC) and disagreements within the Congress on the issue, it seems the party leadership is moving towards another debacle like the Sushma-Modi debate in the Monsoon Session.
  • Read on to find out why the Congress\' idea of stalling Parliament on the National Herald case is nothing short of suicidal.

With just a little over a week left in the crucial Winter Session, Congress has ensured that the ongoing Session is washed out without conducting any significant business.

But in the long run, the idea isn't sustainable. Further, the strategy of stalling Parliament on the National Herald case hurts the Congress more than the BJP.

Read More: All that you need to know about the National Herald case

Read More: What are Subramanian Swamy's allegations against the Gandhis?

Here's why:

  • Price rise, GST, corruption and drought are some of the major issues that need the Parliament's immediate attention.
  • By stalling Parliament, the message relayed is that the party doesn't care about any of these issues.
  • Most states had agreed to the GST and are eagerly awaiting its implementation.
  • The Congress ends up looking bad in the GST case as no one less than Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh on the issue.
Modi Manmohan sonia chai pe charcha

Modi-Manmohan-Sonia chai pe charcha on GST

  • So, the Congress' complaints about the Centre not reaching out to the Opposition on GST falls rather flat.
  • Plus, it has failed to create a public opinion either through the media or its statements in Parliament about what exactly is wrong with BJP's GST bill, passing which was a key aim of the Manmohan Singh government.

  • On Wednesday, the Congress tried to garner support from other political parties by turning the whole "political vendetta" angle in the National Herald case into a larger debate on how the BJP is using the Enforcement Directorate to target the Opposition in every state.
  • The leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, tried to appeal to the BSP and SP yesterday by suggesting that the BJP has used the CBI against both Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati.
  • However, except for TMC, no other party has extended any support till now.TMC's Derek O'Brien supported the Congress' cause as the party has always claimed that the Saradha scam investigation was a case of "political vendetta".
  • The whole argument about Subramanian Swamy being a proxy for the PMO as alleged by Rahul Gandhi is punctured by the BJP leader himself.
  • He said the Congress has always considered him to be a sidelined and disgruntled leader of the BJP. So one wonders how suddenly he is being made out to be "the alter ego of Prime Minister Narendra Modi".
  • Swamy has had a history of targeting the Gandhis on a range of issues like Rahul's alleged British nationality and Sonia Gandhi's alleged fake degree.
  • To call the National Herald case "political vendetta" and masterminded by the PMO could be stretching things a bit too far.

Here are some tweets from Swamy's timeline that show targeting Sonia Gandhi (whom he refers to as TDK or VK) and Rahul Gandhi is his pet peeve. Occasionally, he takes out some time for PC i.e former finance minister P Chidambaram.

Further, the case is in the realm of the judiciary now. Not much can be achieved by registering protests on the floor of the House.

  • Within the Congress, there are very few supporters for stalling Parliament.
  • Most believe that it was easy to unite the Opposition parties on the VK Singh "dog remark" issue.

  • But there is an inherent personal interest involved in the National Herald case, which most Congressmen believe, wouldn't appeal to other Opposition parties.

Congress hasn't learnt its lessons from the Sushma-Modi debate debacle

  • Congress wasted the last session in targeting Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje for their alleged involvement in helping scam-tainted former IPL chief Lalit Modi, much to the displeasure of other Opposition parties.
  • Congress failed to sustain the pressure of a united Opposition demanding Sushma Swaraj's resignation. Mulayam Singh was very vocal in his anger.
  • Finally, coming several notches down from its demand that the two BJP leaders resign, the Congress has had to settle for a debate on the issue. And we know how badly the party lost that duel.
  • A fierce Sushma Swaraj gave Rahul Gandhi a "lesson in Congress history", asking him to read about Bofors and Warren Anderson leaving the country after the Bhopal gas tragedy.

  • Rahul Gandhi's clumsy and feeble response only exposed how unprepared the party was to deal with such an eventuality.
  • Instead the piece of paper on which he had scribbled his half baked speech in Roman script went viral and made him the laughing stock on the internet.

Rahul Gandhi

Rahul's cheat sheet

  • With the National Herald impasse, the Congress seems to be moving closer towards a similar debacle.

  • In fact, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi succinctly summed up Congress' dilemma: "You have dug a well for yourself without figuring out any exit routes".

First published: 10 December 2015, 2:51 IST
Somi Das @Somi_Das

Somi brings with her the diverse experience of working in a hard news environment with ample exposure to long-form journalism to Catch. She has worked with Yahoo! News, India Legal and Newslaundry. As the Assistant Editor of Catch Live, she intends to bring quality, speed and accuracy to the table. She has a PGD in Print and TV journalism from YMCA, New Delhi, and is a lifelong student of Political Science.