Resignations of RBI governor Patel, Union minister Kushwaha gives fodder for opposition to take on govt
New Delhi: The National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) troubles mounted on Monday after leaders of 21 opposition parties decided to corner the government on the resignation of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Urjit Patel and the Rafale deal on the eve of the winter session of Parliament.
Adding to the embarrassment of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA, Union minister of state for human resource development Upendra Kushwaha resigned from the council of ministers. The Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) also walked out of the alliance because of differences over seat-sharing in Bihar. The RLSP is the second alliance partner from Bihar to leave the NDA after the former chief minister of the state Jitan Ram Manjhi.
Kushwaha has been holding meetings with the Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leaders who have welcomed his decision, according to people aware of the development.
Leaders of 21 opposition parties met in the capital on Monday a day before the start of the crucial winter session of Parliament. Congress president Rahul Gandhi referred to the group as “leaders of secular parties" and said: “In the course of the next few months we will place before the people of the country, a comprehensive programme of work anchored in complete transparency and accountability."
Opposition leaders also decided to hold another round of consultation on Tuesday to fine-tune their strategy and floor coordination, on a suggestion by West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee.
Gandhi said opposition parties had agreed there was an “assault" on institutions such as RBI. Banerjee too attacked the government over Patel’s resignation. “Institutions, from the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) to the RBI, have become total disasters. This has never happened before. It is a matter of great shock. We must protest," she said.
The opening day of the winter session also coincides with the announcement of election results of the five states that went to polls over the past one month. The BJP has been ruling three of the five states where elections were held.
The Union government is keen to pass the controversial bill that makes instant triple talaq illegal, and also to table the Citizenship (Amendment) bill, currently being analysed by a select committee of Parliament, especially as the winter session is the last full Parliament session before the 2019 general elections.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of NDA partners. “The Prime Minister said this session will continue into 2019. In a way this is the last session of our (government’s) five-year term and so this should be used to make it very beneficial for the government, the country and the people," parliamentary affairs minister Narendra Singh Tomar said.
The NDA’s problems also mounted after affiliates of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the BJP, demanded that the government introduce a bill to allow the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, an RSS affiliate that is spearheading the campaign, organized a dharam sabha, or conglomeration of Hindu religious leaders, in New Delhi on Sunday to put pressure on the Union government.