Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who has been under attack from the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, today reached out to the BJP leader in Parliament in a bid to win support for the passage of crucial Bills.
Soon after Lok Sabha was adjourned, Swaraj was walking towards Central Hall with BJP Parliamentary Party chief LK Advani and other MPs when Gandhi approached her and put her one arm on the shoulder of the Leader of the Opposition.
Sonia Gandhi walked with Swaraj for some distance.
The MPs, who were witness to this new camaraderie between Gandhi and Swaraj, said the two leaders talked animatedly with each other. BJP leaders were, however, tight-lipped about the subject of the conversation.
There are reports that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may call an all-party meeting to end the stand-off in Parliament.
A senior BJP laeder, however, said a resolution is unlikely unless the two tainted Ministers, Pawan Kumar Bansal and Ashwani Kumar, are sacked.
Sonia Gandhi’s gesture appears as a bid for a rapprochement with the main Opposition as the ruling party wants the Food Security and the Land Acquisition Bills passed in Parliament before the Budget Session ends on May 10. BJP supports these Bills in principle and would give its nod if certain amendments are incorporated.
The Congress President’s move came as a surprise to many as on last Friday, Swaraj had accused Gandhi of instigating her MPs to disrupt her speech in Lok Sabha.
Swaraj had said it had been agreed that she will enumerate reasons for BJP’s boycott of Parliament, following which BJP will stage a walkout to facilitate passage of the Finance Bill.
However, interruptions by Union ministers had made Swaraj angry and she blamed Gandhi for it. “I was disrupted 60 times in three minutes,” Swaraj had said.
Gandhi is known for reaching out to other parties. Earlier in this session, she had surprised her own party colleagues when she walked upto SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav in Lok Sabha and asked him with folded hands to give up his demand for Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma’s resignation.
Verma had accused Yadav of having sided with communal forces and that he took money to support the government from outside.
(With inputs from agencies)