National Herald Case Rocks Indian Parliament

09/12/2015 1:16 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

The Congress is locked in a bitter battle of words with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over allegations that its office bearers misappropriated funds in acquiring the ownership of the now-defunct National Herald daily. Both Houses of Parliament saw stormy scenes and repeated adjournments since yesterday and in a long and angry tirade, senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday slammed the Congress for disrupting proceedings of the House and sullying democracy.

"Our government has done nothing wrong. We are proud of our ministers. This is what are these people are teaching the country. I appeal to the people of the nation to see this. The Congress is not being able to accept its defeat in the election. Is this democracy? We are steadfast, whatever is in the interest of the people, the government will do. They cannot go on making sweeping allegations against the government. This is a ruling by the court," a visibly agitated Naidu told the Lok Sabha.


"Whatever the Congress did yesterday is meaningless. I don't know whether even they know what they are doing. The government did not do anything. Is it right to raise voice against the judiciary in the Parliament?" Naidu asked.

"They have experience of running the government. If an experienced party behaves like this, then it sends a very negative message for the Congress as well as for the nation. Our government wants the progress of the nation and we are working in that direction," he added.

The aggressive rebuttal came as members of the Congress continued to protest in both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha against an alleged "political vendetta" against its leaders.

Also Read: National Herald Case: Sonia, Rahul To Appear Before Court On Dec 19

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, party leaders Anand Sharma, Deepender Hooda and several others also slammed Union minister VK Singh's "dog" remark against Dalits.


Azad later told reporters that the agitation is a continuation of the protests against "political vendetta started since the BJP came to power."

"There are two Constitutions functioning - one for Congress leaders and one for BJP leaders, we have raised our issues on corruption by BJP leaders in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan but the BJP has not taken any action," Azad said.

Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari, speaking to reporters in Delhi, said the National Herald issue does not have any connection with the government.

"I will request the Congress to not disrupt Parliament. If they are upset with a court ruling they should appeal to a higher court. That's how legal processes work. They should not stall Parliament. The government is not responsible for this, this isn't good for democracy," Gadkari said.

The Rajya Sabha was disrupted as the Congress leaders stormed the Well, raising slogans against the ruling dispensation.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, yesterday charged the Congress with politicising the National Herald case. He said the Congress has no issue to debate in the Parliament and, therefore, it is creating ruckus unnecessarily.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi have been asked to appear in a Delhi Court on December 19 in connection with this case. The summons were issued to them on a criminal complaint lodged by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of National Herald.

The Congress leaders own a stake as directors in YIL, registered as a charitable company, as per the complaint. The complaint alleged corruption in the assigning of loan worth Rs. 90.25 crore owed to the Congress by Associated Journals Limited (AJL), publisher of the National Herald, to YIL for Rs. 50 lakh.

"If you have any problem with the Parliament or the government, then talk to us. Your issue is of two individuals, where do we come in the issue of two individuals. We appeal to them not to take revenge of this mandate from the people of the nation," Naqvi told ANI.

Naqvi accused the Congress of posing as a barrier in the country's development with its repeated chaos in the Parliament over this issue. "The Congress is creating chaos in haste. The nation knows the history of their family, the geography of their party," he said.

No matter what their difference in the House, Naidu called up Congress President Sonia Gandhi to wish on her birthday.

"I have called up Sonia ji in the morning and wished her on her birthday," Naidu told the Lok Sabha after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan reminded him that it's the Congress President's birthday today. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the House at that time. Modi has also greeted Gandhi on her 69th birthday, wishing her a long life and good health. (With inputs from PTI and ANI)

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