Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has emerged as the pivot of the government’s response to Congress allegations in the Lok Sabha, setting the tempo and lines of the counter-attack with hard-hitting arguments and one-liners.
With Congress seeking to target the government on a range of issues including the political crisis in Karnataka and farmer distress, Singh has sought to take the battle back to the Congress camp.
Rajnath Singh is the Deputy Leader of the House and has been playing the role of senior leader of the treasury benches.
He set the line of BJP’s counter to the Congress accusations about his party’s involvement in the political crisis in Karnataka where the ruling Congress-JD(S) government is facing a threat to its survival. He sought to put the onus on Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who has resigned from his post, throwing the party into confusion over the leadership issue.
On Thursday, Singh promptly countered Gandhi when he raised the problem of farmers while accusing the government of “shameful double standards” and lacking a concrete action plan. Gandhi also reminded the government about promises made to farmers by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Singh stated that the distress faced by farmers did not come about in the last four-five years but those who ruled the country for long years were responsible for it.
He also said that Modi government was making efforts to double the income of farmers, had substantially hiked the minimum support price and they were getting Rs 6000 per annum under PM-KISAN scheme.
Singh said the government has done a lot and has to do a lot for farmers and maximum number of suicides had taken place when Congress was in power while these had come down now.
Responding to Congress allegations about Karnataka on Tuesday, Singh had accused the main opposition party of failing to put its own house in order in the southern state and disturbing the proceedings of Parliament.
“Whatever is happening (in Karnataka), it is an internal matter of the Congress. They are unable to put their own house in order and are disturbing the House. This can never be termed right,” he said.
He countered the Congress charges on Monday also. “Whatever is happening in Karnataka, our party has nothing to do with it. Our party is fully committed to the dignity of parliamentary democracy,” he said.
Singh referred to Gandhi’s resignation as party chief after taking moral responsibility for the party’s debacle in Lok Sabha elections and to his remarks that numerous people would have to made accountable for the loss.
He suggested that senior leaders of the Congress are resigning from their posts as a result of Gandhi’s decision and statement. “The process of resignations continues. BJP has nothing to do with it,” he said.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi countered the Congress attack on Karnataka on Wednesday and took a cue from the lines spoken by Singh.
Singh, 68, who into his third term as a member of Lok Sabha is known for making his point strongly and quickly without being acerbic.
He was Home Minister in the previous BJP-led NDA government and has wide legislative experience having been chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and Union Minister earlier. He has also been a member of Rajya Sabha. Lok Sabha greeted him on his birthday on Wednesday.
Apart from Singh, the previous Lok Sabha saw several BJP leaders taking on the Congress over its political allegations including Arun Jaitley, Ananth Kumar and Sushma Swaraj.