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Parties that helped NDA win RS Dy Chairman election are hypocrites: Cong

By The Assam Tribune

Nagpur, Aug 13 (PTI): The Congress said the political parties that broke the Opposition ranks to facilitate the victory of the NDA nominee in the election for the post of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman had exposed their "hypocrisy".

Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi also claimed on Sunday that the Opposition unity was intact, even though some parties had voted against the Opposition nominee in the August 9 election.

Harivansh Narayan Singh of the Janata Dal (United) won the election against Opposition candidate BK Hariprasad of the Congress in the Upper House of Parliament.

Addressing a press conference here, Chaturvedi said the outcome of the election did not mean the Opposition unity had broken. "A lot of people and political parties that have been attacking the (Narendra) Modi government and claiming to represent the voice of the common people chose to abstain and not vote against the candidate put up by the government.

"They clearly shirked their own responsibilities and exposed their hypocrisy," she alleged.

During the election, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the ruling parties in Odisha and Delhi respectively, broke ranks with the Opposition to facilitate the NDA candidate's victory, despite their fierce political battles with the BJP in their States.

The Shiv Sena, which had abstained from voting on the no-confidence motion moved against the NDA government in the Lok Sabha recently, had joined the BJP to help Singh win the election for the post of Rajya Sabha deputy chairman.

The two YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) MPs had abstained from voting. In all, 16 members were not present.

Replying to a query, Chaturvedi said, "I don't think the Opposition unity is breaking in any way."

In a veiled attack on the Shiv Sena, which is part of the NDA-led governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra, the Congress leader said, "It is shameful that one of the parties that shares power with the BJP in Maharashtra is attacking the State government and when the time comes, they choose power over accountability. We were hoping that those within the government would live up to their responsibilities when the time came, but that did not happen."

Chaturvedi claimed that it clearly emerged from the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman's election that the Modi government did not believe in taking everybody along.

"This is perhaps for the first time that the government did not reach out to the Opposition parties to find a consensus candidate and chose to use its power. This is how democratic principles are being compromised to stay in power," she said.

Alleging that the deal to purchase Rafale fighter jets from France was a "scam", Chaturvedi said, "A lot of allegations were hurled against the Congress regarding the Bofors deal. However, the then Congress government did not shy away from any probe. The Congress held itself accountable and answerable to the people of India and the Supreme Court."

"When (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, he had absolved us of all the charges," she claimed.

The Bofors deal between India and Sweden during the 1980s and 1990s had snowballed into a major political scandal, wherein several members of the Indian and Swedish governments were accused of receiving kickbacks for winning a bid to supply 155-mm field howitzer guns to India.

Chaturvedi said the Army had hailed the role of the Bofors guns in the 1999 Kargil War between India and Pakistan.

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