Sushma Sparkles, Rahul Sizzles
The Lok Sabha turned into a war zone as verbal missiles were hurled from both Treasury Bench and the Opposition. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj under vituperative attack for almost a week by aggressive and nearly abusive Rahul Gandhi accusing her of almost being a thief and demanding her resignation over Lalitgate must have suffered severely from shock when normally a quieter and civil Sushma suddenly erupted like a volcano in full fury. She accused the Gandhis’ of taking money to help Ottavio Quattrochchi—ask your mamma how much Quattrochchi gave and what were the barter terms for letting Warren Anderson flee from India. It is alleged that in lieu of the release of Anderson, Shahriyar, son of Mohd. Yunus, family friend of Nehru and Gandhi, was released in the US. He was sentenced for 35 years in jail for drug dealings.
Swaraj launched a frontal attack, reading out this barter arrangement from Arjun Singh’s book, leaving Gandhis stupefied. Taking the floor after a number of searching questions were raised by Congress group leader Mallikarjun Kharge, Swaraj’s charges against the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his government and the attack on Rahul Gandhi escalated further tensions between the opposition and government as a washed-out session of Parliament comes to an end the following day.
On the penultimate day of the month-long session, which was paralysed over the Congress demand for Swaraj’s resignation, the two sides settled for a discussion on an adjournment motion that was often acrimonious.
At the end of the day, the adjournment motion was defeated by a voice after the Congress walked out of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley rejected the demand for her resignations saying all the allegations against her “are baseless”. Kharge, who moved an adjournment motion, raised a number of queries over Swaraj’s help to former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi, a “fugitive”, in getting travel document “in stealth” to go outside London when law enforcement agencies were looking for him here. He accused her of involved in conflict of interest because her husband and daughter were lawyers for Modi, which she rejected saying the two did not appear in the case of Modi’s passport cancellation and did not take a single rupee as fees.
But things got personal when Swaraj began her reply and launched a fusillade against Rahul Gandhi and the Congress governments in the past including the one headed by his late father Rajiv Gandhi. Swaraj referred to Rahul’s attack on her that she indulged in a criminal act and helped a “fugitive flee” from law in “stealth”.
“Sushma does not do anything in stealth. If there was anyone who indulged in stealth, it was the Rajiv Gandhi government that helped Union Carbide’s chief Warren Anderson to flee from India in the wake of the Bhopal gas disaster.
“It was the Congress government that helped Bofors accused Ottavio Quattrochchi flee from India. Rahul Gandhi, who she shows interest in taking two-month holidays, should sit in isolation and go into the history of Congress governments.
“Come back and ask your mother how much money did Quattrocchi give. Why was Warren Anderson, who was responsible for the deaths of 15,000 people, allowed to go out of the country,” she said in her speech that riled the Congress benches.
Later, Rahul Gandhi himself took the floor and hit back at Swaraj saying she helped Lalit Modi because her family (husband and daughter) were the lawyers for him.
“I ask Sushma Swaraj how much money you got for rescuing Modi. You must be the only person in the world to help a person on humanitarian grounds in stealth,” he said.
He accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of maintaining silence and cited Gandhiji’s three monkeys to claim that Modi “does not see truth, does not speak truth and does not hear truth”. Modi is not in the House because he does not have the guts to face truth, Rahul said. He said the prime minister was not talking on the issue after having promised to bring black money back to the country and putting Rs. 15 lakh in everybody’s account. “Mr Lalit Modi is the symbol of black money in the country. IPL is the symbol of blackmoney in the country,” he said. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley explained the Lalit Modi case in financial and legal light in Lok Sabha. Congress members had walked out of the house and therefore Jaitley could comfortably deliver his speech without any obstruction or noise. Jaitley explained the Lalit Modi case right from the beginning of IPL season in question. Jaitley said, “The difficulty with Rahul Gandhi is that he is an expert without knowledge.”
That the expert without knowledge is like a tuned-up robot and nothing, abuses, verbal missiles would be able to stop him. One can’t say that he has Teflon Touch but can’t deny that he might be chikna ghadha.
Nothing sticks to him. Both charges of letting Anderson escape and secure release of an alleged drug dealer and then everyone knows how Quattrocchi was allowed to flee and how easily he could lay his hands on $ 30 million in a London Bank.
But then Rahul made it very clear that charges against him and his family could continue to be made but he would not deter from attacking the government. What did we say he is a chikna gadha, nothing will stick or break him. Until a stone in the form of the National Herald case starts. Samjhe!