By G Krishna Mohan Rao*
New Delhi: Both Houses of the Parliament adjourned for the day today amid a ruckus over Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s comments on Indian democracy in London. Soon after the Parliament convened for the first day of the second leg of the Budget Session today pandemonium broke out in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha as well over Rahul Gandhi’s speech in London and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress members started trading charges against each other. Both Houses were adjourned due to the chaos till 2 pm. When they met again in the afternoon, the same situation continued and both the presiding officers adjourned the Houses for the day without transacting any business.
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Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi led a scathing attack on Rahul Gandhi and the Congress, asking where was democracy when an Emergency was imposed in the country and fundamental rights were trampled upon. Where was a democracy when an ordinance approved by the Cabinet was torn apart “( Rahul Gandhi during the Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance regime). At this point, Speaker Om Birla said that India is strong and is getting stronger. Stung by the attack from BJP, the Congress members started raising slogans and rushed into the well, which forced the Speaker to adjourn the House till 2 pm and later for the day.
In the Rajya Sabha, scenes were more uproarious, with a verbal slugfest between the ruling BJP and the Congress-led Opposition members as allegations flew thick and fast over Rahul Gandhi’s speech in London. Launching a frontal attack on Rahul without naming him, the Leader of the House and Union Minister Piyush Goyal said that when the whole world is praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and looking at India for solutions to its problem, a Lok Sabha member has defamed India in a foreign country. “The world is speaking about India’s PM. Even Italy’s PM said that PM Modi is the most popular leader in the world. But a member of Lok Sabha is defaming India abroad. Until he apologises to the nation people will not forgive us,” Goyal said.
His allegations were met with a sharp retort from the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge who raised a point of order demanding that Goyal’s remarks be expunged from the records of House proceedings since they are in violation of an earlier ruling according to which no member of one house will make an allegation against a member of the other House.
Kharge said the members of one house should not use freedom of speech to make allegations against the members of the other House and whatever Goyal said should be expunged, The BJP members, raised slogans – “Rahul Gandhi Maafi Mango”. Taking potshots at the ruling BJP, senior Congress MP Digvijay Singh said that this is the first time in his political career, he is seeing the ruling party disrupting the House proceedings.
Leader of the House, Goyal countered the Congress charge by pointing out that he had not named anyone alleging that the Congress has “bad intentions” and hence they are associating someone with his remarks. “It is up to them to clarify whom they are referring to in relation to my remark,” Goyal said. With both the ruling and opposition party members resorting to slogan shouting, Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankar adjourned the House Proceedings for the day.
Meanwhile, several MPs belonging to the Bharat Rashtra Samithi, as well as the Aam Aadmi Party and the Janata Dal (United), protested vehemently both inside as well as outside the Parliament against the government, alleging that Central Agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) were used in various Opposition-ruled states to “intimidate and browbeat” the regional parties. They shouted slogans against the government over the “misuse” of these central agencies. Later, led by the BRS veteran and the parliamentary party leader K Keshav Rao, the MPs gathered at the Mahatma Gandhi statue at the Parliament House premise and shouted slogans against the government.