The Congress has said that it will oppose attempts by the Modi government to ‘assault’ the constitutional rights and responsibilities of democratically-elected state governments both inside and outside Parliament. The opposition party said it had done so in the past as well.
Without any direct reference to the Delhi ordinance issue, the Congress’ assertion comes amid its ongoing tussle with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The AAP has demanded that the Congress must clear its stand in order to pave the way for AAP to attend the upcoming meeting of opposition parties in Bengaluru and other such future conclaves.
In the past few days, the Congress’ top leadership held a meeting of its parliamentary strategy group, in which it discussed various issues to be raised during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, which begins from July 20 onwards.
On May 19, to create an authority for the transfer and posting of Group-A officers in Delhi, the Centre had promulgated the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023. The AAP government had labelled it a “deception” with the Supreme Court verdict on the control of administrative and other services.
In response to a question over whether or not the ordinance issue was discussed in the parliamentary strategy group meeting and whether the Congress would oppose the bill related to it in Parliament, Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said the party has always fought against the Modi government’s “assaults” on the constitutional rights and responsibilities of democratically elected state governments and local bodies.
“This assault comes directly and this assault comes from the appointees of the Modi government like the governors. Congress has opposed this in Parliament and we will continue to oppose it, there is no question of not opposing it,” Ramesh said.
“There are various assaults and it takes various forms. Constitutional bodies are weakened, constitutional agencies are misused, constitutional bodies are ignored. Let me give you an example, the national commission on scheduled tribes had clearly said to the Modi government that they are against the laws of forest conservation for being against the tribals, but they were ignored,” he said.
Ramesh added, “We will oppose it both within Parliament and outside Parliament.”
Attended by the likes of AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge and Ramesh, among others, the Congress Parliamentary Strategy Group meeting was chaired by parliamentary party chief Sonia Gandhi.
Meanwhile, a leader from the Opposition bloc, who is neither in the Congress nor the AAP, said there are indications that the AAP will attend the conclave. However, in a non-committal tone, sources in the Congress said it all is dependent on the stand of the grand old party.
When quizzed over the attendance of the AAP (as part of the 24 parties also attending the meeting) in Bengaluru, Ramesh said, “As per I know, Aam Aadmi Party is one of the 24 coming to Bengaluru.”
At the second unity meeting being convened by the Congress later this week in Bengaluru, the opposition grouping which might take on the BJP in the next Lok Sabha polls is set to expand, with more parties joining in.
Opposition parties had resolved to take on the BJP unitedly in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, at the first meeting in Patna last month.However, at the same gathering, fissures had also emerged, with the AAP stating clearly that it would become increasingly difficult for it to be part of any such gathering in the coming days until the time the Congress publicly supports it on the ordinance issue.
In the interim, it is still not clear whether the AAP would attend the Opposition meeting in Bengaluru or not.