Congress stalls Parliament over Gandhi ‘vendetta’
India’s main opposition Congress party on Tuesday held hostage Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hopes of passing a crucial tax reform, stalling parliament and accusing his government of running a “vendetta” against the Nehru-Gandhi family.
The government wants to introduce a nationwide goods and services tax (GST) to replace a long list of state levies, raising hopes that it would boost investment by making it easier to do business in India’s vast internal market.
Despite having a substantial majority in the lower house, Modi needs the support of opposition parties to get the bill through the upper house.
Hopes were raised for the long-delayed legislation to be passed this year after Modi met Congress president Sonia Gandhi last month and both parties showed signs of compromise.
But those prospects of compromise were cast in doubt on Monday, when a judge ordered Gandhi and her son Rahul to appear in court in a case brought by a prominent member of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
Furious Congress members stormed the wells of both houses of parliament, shouting slogans against the case and alleging a “political vendetta” by Modi, who has moved to weaken the legacy of the Gandhis since dislodging them from power last year.
“I am not scared of anyone,” Sonia Gandhi told journalists in parliament.
Parliament was adjourned until Wednesday following the uproar, but Congress workers carried their protests into the streets.