New Delhi: Two days after the ruling coalition escaped a major embarrassment over the absence of many of its members during the passage of a crucial Bill in the Rajya Sabha, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday cracked the whip on party conveners, asking them to ensure the presence of members in Parliament.
Being stern: Congress president Sonia Gandhi has warned that irresponsible behaviour in Parliament will not be tolerated. Ramesh Pathania / Mint
At a meeting of state conveners, who are expected to coordinate with the party MPs in both Houses, Gandhi delivered a stern warning that “irresponsible behaviour” in Parliament cannot be tolerated.
“If you can’t do the job, quit the post,” an angry Gandhi was quoted as saying by some conveners who attended the meeting. The conveners didn’t want to be named.
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, or UPA, government faced embarrassment on 20 July, when the Rajya Sabha passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill, 2009.
During the passage of the Bill, only 25 members from the treasury benches were present in the house. The legislation could have been stalled by the opposition, which was represented by 29 members.
Congress spokesman Manish Tewari has admitted that there could have been “better representation” but claimed that it does not take away the “gravity and long-term impact of the legislation.”
Sonia Gandhi had in the past sought explanations from at least 60 Congress MPs and ministers on their absence during the vote on the Unorganised Sector Workers Welfare Bill in the Lok Sabha on 18 December.