Rahul has reduced Congress to fringe party on mainstream issues: Jaitley

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New Delhi, May 8 (IANS) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday hit out at Congress President Rahul Gandhi, saying his party was acting like a “fringe” on mainstream issues like impeachment motion against the Chief Justice as it wanted to do “forum shopping” on the issue and retreated when it failed.

Hours after two Congress MPs withdrew their petition in the Supreme Court challenging the rejection of the impeachment motion by Rajya Sabha Chairman, he referred to the notice of the motion against Chief Justice Dipak Misra by parties led by Congress and said many of its traditional allies were not willing to take on this confrontation with the judiciary.

In a Facebook post, the Finance Minister described the impeachment attempt as “wholly misconceived, poorly drafted and lacking in substance”.

“If the motion for impeachment was unsustainable, the writ petition challenging the order of the Chairman, Rajya Sabha, was unarguable,” Jaitley said, adding that the rejection of a motion by the Speaker or the Chairman is a part of the legislative process and is not subject to judicial review.

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“But wanting to fish in troubled waters, the Congress conceived of a strategy to choose a court of its choice for mentioning for constitution of the bench to hear the matter so that an unarguable matter could be arguable before a more receptive court. The Congress was looking for a friendly pitch to bowl on,” Jaitley said.

“The judgment in the unfortunate death of Judge Loya has already exposed the false hallucination of the Congress where it concocted the unnatural death theory. It now wanted a continuing sword to hang on the Chief Justice and hence on the apex court. Its efforts of a ‘forum shopping’ having failed, it refused to argue its unarguable case on merits,” he added.

After Rahul Gandhi took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Jaitley’s absence in the Finance Ministry, Jaitley hit back saying that Gandhi had reduced the grand old party into a fringe “two-digit” party.

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He said the Congressmen in poll-bound Karnataka would be the first to pay the price of their leader’s taking a fringe position on mainstream issues.

Earlier, Gandhi, in a mock letter by Modi to Jaitley, said it has been decided to shut the Finance Ministry till further notice since the minister was “indisposed” and also because Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia had reportedly taken leave till May 20.

Jaitley said that under Gandhi’s leadership, the Congress occupied the fringe position not only in electoral arithmetic but also on several mainstream issues including digitization, Aadhaar and the alleged anti-India slogans in the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

“On use of technology he opposes the EVMs and wants to go back to ballot paper. On digitization he prefers cash over the digital mode of transaction and having pioneered the original idea of a unique identity number, he has allowed his party to question it both in Parliament and in the courts,” he said.

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“Fringe organisations have no hope of ever coming to power. They can, therefore, afford to take positions which they will never have to implement. But can a party having ruled India for such a long tenure push itself to take fringe position one after the other?”

–IANS

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