NEW DELHI -- Marred by adjournments and protests in both houses, the monsoon session's third day was brought to a halt over demands for resignations of senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, while Congress Party Vice President Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his continued silence on recent scandals which have rocked his government.
Gandhi described External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj as a "criminal," who had helped fugitive Lalit Modi to procure travel documents from the British authorities, last year, when he was being investigated by the Indian government for financial irregularities and money laundering in connection with the IPL cricket tournament.
"Sushma ji has done a criminal act. She is a minister of the government and the whole country knows she has done a criminal act," Gandhi told the media. "If you do a criminal act, you go to jail."
On Vyapam, the Congress Party leader asked how Modi could be silent when 40 people connected with the deadly scam had died since 2010, several of them in recent weeks. "You are not the prime minister of the BJP, you are the prime minister of India, you are the prime minister of the public" he said. "Listen to the voice of the public, they want to know what you are thinking."
Vyapam is a massive scam which involves politicians and government officials allowing impostors to take exams for government jobs in Madhya Pradesh, and manipulating exam results, in exchange of vast sums of money. The Congress Party has demanded the resignation of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Chouhan over the scam.
Referring to the prime minister's promise of zero corruption, Gandhi said, Modi "talks in the air" and his promises are like "gas coming out of a balloon."
Since the monsoon session kicked off on Tuesday, the Congress Party and the Left parties have disrupted proceedings in parliament, demanding resignations of Chouhan, Swaraj, and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasaundhara Raje, who is also embroiled in the Lalit Modi scandal. "There will be no discussion without resignation," Gandhi said today.
The Modi government, which has critical bills pending in parliament, has offered to discuss these scandals in both houses, but the opposition is vehement in its demands for resignations. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has accused the Congress Party of being "weak on arguments and strong on disruption."
On Thursday, opposition parties declined to attend an all-party meeting called by Jaitley, Times Now reported.
Meanwhile, the Modi government has retaliated by highlighting past and present scams involving Congress Party leaders. On Wednesday, the BJP accused Uttarkhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat of loot and liquor scam during the floods in 2013. The Congress Party leader has denied the allegations.
Similar to the pattern of the past two days, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha today were repeatedly adjourned as the opposition created a ruckus over the Lalit Modi scandal and the Vyapam scam.
While Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asked lawmakers to remove their armbands and placards, Congress Party leaders shouted, "We want justice."
Shortly after 12:00 pm, Mahajan was forced to adjourn the house till Friday.