To nail down PM, Opposition won’t let go Adani easily in Parliament
By G Krishna Mohan Rao*
New Delhi: The Government is confident that the Parliament would resume its business tomorrow, after two days of washout on Adani row, even as the entire Opposition is gearing up with new strategies to corner Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government on the corporate fraud.
Parliamentary affairs minister Prahlad Joshi made it clear that both Houses of Parliament would take up the discussion on the motion of thanks to the President’s address, which is a priority subject, tomorrow.
However, on the face of it, the stalemate continues over the Adani row in Parliament. The strategy meeting of the floor leaders of all Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha will be held on the Parliament premises tomorrow at 9.30 am. After discussing their joint strategy, the Opposition MPs are expected to stage a united protest in front of the Gandhi statue, in the backdrop of both Houses being rocked by the Adani Group stock crash. They are demanding immediate action against the Adani Group alleging that thousands of crores of public money are linked with this through the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and the State Bank of India (SBI).
The Opposition today maintained that when the Government has nothing to hide on Adani row, why they were not allowed a single minute to raise the Adani issue on the floor? Besides immediate discussion on the issue, the Opposition demands a probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) or a Supreme Court-monitored probe into allegations against the Adani companies. In its revelations, the Hindenburg report had accused the Adani Group of “ brazen stock manipulation” and a “financial fraud scheme”.
The Opposition is also perturbed over the total silence by Prime Minister Modi on this controversy. They are not happy with the statements of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goel—that our macroeconomic fundamentals have not been affected and if need be regulators would look into it. The angry Opposition questioned why the regulators like SEBI and RBI are not acting when the international agencies had started responding to the allegations.
Sources say that the Congress Party is determined to pursue this matter even as a section of Opposition leaders favours using the debate on the motion of thanks to the President’s address to corner the government on the Adani controversy in addition to other burning problems like unemployment, price rise and others. The Aam Admi Party(AAP) and K Chandrashekhar Rao’s Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) wanted to enforce a Parliamentary deadlock for the entire session unless the government agreed to an independent investigation.
The Congress wants to highlight Prime Minister Modi’s personal relationship with Adani to demolish the government’s line of defence that the Prime Minister is not answerable for the allegations of corporate fraud. Congress insists that Adani enjoyed ‘patronage’ at the highest level and an independent investigation will save LIC and SBI and other institutions forced by the Prime Minister to invest in the Adani Group of companies.
Meanwhile, the Congress today stepped up its attack on the Centre over allegations against the Adani group, alleging that the Modi government’s “loud silence” over the issue “smacks of collusion”.
Congress general secretary and communications in-charge Jairam Ramesh said that starting today, they will pose three questions a day to Prime Minister Modi over the issue. Posing questions, Ramesh said that Vinod Adani, the brother of Gautam Adani, was named in the Panama Papers, and what action has been taken?
Further, other business groups have been harassed and raided for much less. In fact, the Congress also started a Twitter poll on its official Twitter handle, asking people whether the Prime Minister will get the allegations of fraud against ‘his friend Adani’ investigated.
– Senior journalist