Home >Politics >Policy >Rahul Gandhi joins demand for debate on communal violence

New Delhi: In an unprecedented move, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday stormed the well of the Lok Sabha, joining his party colleagues who were disrupting the proceedings demanding a debate on increasing incidents of communal violence in the country.

Gandhi’s action comes even as he has come under attack by a section of his own party for his failure as a leader and as speculation increases about the imminent entry of his sister Priyanka Vadra into active politics.

Gandhi led the Congress to its worst performance ever in this year’s general elections.

Gandhi’s rare protest—he rarely speaks in Parliament and was recently caught napping in the House—as well as his public attack on both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan prompted a harsh response from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with finance minister Arun Jaitley saying that Gandhi’s “contrived aggression" in Parliament was a reaction to a brewing “palace coup" in the Congress.

“We are not being allowed to speak in Parliament. There is a mentality in the government that discussion is not acceptable. Everybody feels it, their party feels it, we feel it, everybody feels it," Gandhi told reporters outside Parliament House after the Lok Sabha was adjourned for 30 minutes due to disruptions. “There is a mood in Parliament that only one man’s voice counts for anything in this country," Gandhi added that the speaker had been highly unfair in denying the request from the opposition for a debate on the issue.

“We are raising a point, we are asking for discussion... The Speaker, I mean... It is completely one-sided, partiality," a visibly angry Gandhi said.

The Congress, which has been demanding a debate on the rising incidents of communal violence, had given a notice to suspend the question hour on Wednesday and take up the matter. The speaker denied permission, although she did say the discussion could happen after question hour.

Prime Minister Modi was present in the Lok Sabha.

Jaitley said there has been no instance where the opposition party has not been alllowed to speak.

Still, within the Congress, there was some appreciation of Gandhi’s new-found energy.

“The party is desperate to get guidance and leadership from him,"said a party MP who did not wish to be identified.

N. Bhaskara Rao, a New Delhi based political expert, said Gandhi should take up issues that appeal to a larger section of the people. “There was no proper strategy in Wednesday’s move."

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