Home >Politics >News >Differences over policy decisions push politics to the centre stage

NEW DELHI : The Union government’s decision to ask Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is not protected by the Special Protection Group (SPG), to vacate her official residence is the latest example of differences over policy issues pushing politics to the centre stage.

This comes even as the country faces the challenges of the impact of the covid-19 pandemic and the fallout of the border standoff with China.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union government and the Congress are at loggerheads over several policy decisions, such as fuel price hike, Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan, schemes for migrants, and farm ordinance.

Political discourse at the Centre and in the states was largely about the government’s handling of the covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. However, just days after the border standoff with China in Ladakh, the Congress has been raising questions on the issue, leading to more policy issues gaining centre stage.

“The Congress has to explain a lot. First the party leaders opposed the lockdown and social distancing, and now they are politicizing the border dispute between India and China. The central leaders of Congress and chief ministers are not talking on same lines and the party is not getting support from its alliance partners," said a senior BJP leader.

However, opposition to the Centre is coming not just from Congress’ top leadership but also from chief ministers (CM), including those representing regional opposition parties. For instance, both Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee have protested against exclusion from the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan, while Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh has taken on the Union government against the recent farm ordinance.

Over the last week or so, top leaders of the BJP, including Union home minister Amit Shah and party president J.P. Nadda, have accused the Gandhi family of running anti-India propaganda by politicizing the border clashes. Nadda also criticized the Congress over the funding pattern of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, which the Congress said was a ‘diversionary tactic’.

The government order asking Vadra to vacate her government accommodation within a month, is likely to further exacerbate the political clashes between the two sides. The Congress is expected to step up its attack in the coming days, as was the case when the new SPG rules were brought in November, with the Congress raising the issue in Parliament.

“These are all relevant issues, which is our responsibility to highlight as a key Opposition party. The fuel price hike for instance is affecting everyone but the government is unwilling to hear any word of advice. Same goes for assistance to states in fighting the pandemic. If the Parliament session was convened much of this would have been raised on the floor of the House but there is no sign of it till now," said a senior Congress leader requesting anonymity.

anuja@livemint.com

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