July 16, 2014 | By Parmjeet Singh
New Delhi, India (July 16, 2014): The issue of journalist Ved Parkash Vaidik’s meeting/ interview with Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed continued to rock Indian politics for second day today. For the first time in the 16th Lok Sabha, the Congress party managed to get most of the opposition behind it as it demanded an explanation from the government over allegations that journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik met Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan earlier this month as an envoy of the Narendra Modi government.
The opposition, which has been divided on issues so far, together confronted the government in both Lok Sabha and Rajaya Sabha, asking if the meeting with the Hafiz Saeed was sought by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. The protesting Congress members were joined by members of Parliament (MPs) belonging to Left parties, Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Samajwadi Party (SP) in both houses. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj denied the allegations.
“I want to state it unequivocally that the government has no links with Vaidik’s visit. It was his personal visit and the government had no communication with him,” Swaraj said in the Lok Sabha.
In the Rajya Sabha, the minister added: “The government condemns this meeting with the chief accused of Mumbai […] attack.”
Both the houses saw disruptions as soon as they met for the day, with the Congress seeking a suspension of the question hour to get the government’s response to what it called a “serious matter”.
Both houses also witnessed repeated adjournments.
Among those who demanded a government response was Congress party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who deepened the rift between the ruling and opposition parties by linking Vaidik with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s ideological parent.
“The man is an RSS man. That is a known fact. We are curious to know if the Indian embassy facilitated this meeting,” Rahul Gandhi told reporters on Tuesday.
Gandhi joined the protesting MPs, when they left their seats pressing for a statement from the government.
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