Gandhi-BJP Clash in Parliament: Sonia Gandhi Questions Modi’s Leadership

New Delhi, 29th June 2024: During the first session of Parliament, tensions escalated between the government and the opposition over the appointment of the deputy Speaker and the NEET issue, prompting Congress leader Sonia Gandhi to criticize Prime Minister Narendra Modi for favouring confrontation over consensus, despite advocating for the latter. In an editorial for The Hindu, Gandhi remarked that Modi appeared reluctant to acknowledge the NDA’s diminished mandate following the Lok Sabha elections.

“The Prime Minister persists as if there has been no change. While preaching consensus, he continues to embrace confrontation,” stated Gandhi, a Rajya Sabha MP, expressing disappointment with the initial proceedings of the 18th Lok Sabha.

Gandhi also highlighted the opposition’s request for the Deputy Speaker post, traditionally given to them, which she deemed reasonable. She criticized the regime for leaving the position vacant throughout the 17th Lok Sabha term, despite M Thambi Durai of the AIADMK, then a BJP ally, holding the post earlier.

Regarding the Emergency, Gandhi accused Modi of using it to divert attention from constitutional challenges, labelling it “astonishing” that the Speaker would engage politically while holding an impartial role. She emphasized that the electorate’s 1977 rejection of the Emergency should be remembered, contrasting it with the subsequent electoral success of the defeated party within three years.

Turning to the NEET paper leak, Gandhi chastised Modi for his silence on a scandal that affected countless youth, contrasting it with his active engagement in the “Pariksha pe Charcha” initiative. She criticized the erosion of professionalism in educational institutions over the past decade, citing organizations like NCERT, UGC, and universities.

Gandhi also criticized Modi for neglecting Manipur amid ethnic violence, which has claimed numerous lives and displaced thousands since May 2023, accusing him of ignoring the state’s turmoil and failing to engage with its leaders.

In response to Gandhi’s editorial, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi criticized her “arrogance” and urged her to reflect on her family’s history before attacking Modi. However, Gandhi received support from her INDIA bloc allies, including RJD and Shiv Sena (UBT), with RJD MP Manoj Jha asserting that Gandhi had effectively critiqued the government and suggesting that an “Emergency-like” situation persisted in the country.