Centre slams Rahul\'s London speech, Parliament adjourned

Union minister Piyush Goyal demanded that Gandhi come to the House and apologise for his \'rubbish\' statements made in London

New Delhi: The second part of the Budget Session saw a stormy start on Monday as the Opposition and the Treasury benches traded charges leading to noise, chaos and adjournments in both the Houses of Parliament.

Adopting offense as the best way of defence as a strategy to counter the Opposition’s move to pin it down in Parliament, the government on Monday attacked the Congress, targeting Rahul Gandhi in both Houses, demanding an apology from him for his comments made in London recently over the lack of democracy in India.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh, who is also the deputy leader of the House in the Lok Sabha, raised the issue the moment the Lok Sabha met after the recess. In the Rajya Sabha, Leader of the House Piyush Goyal led the attack. The Congress countered the comments against Rahul Gandhi vociferously and hit back, shouting slogans demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Adani-Hindenburg issue.

Mr Rajnath Singh alleged that Rahul Gandhi had tried to defame India in London through his remarks on Indian democracy. “Rahul Gandhi, who is a member of the Lok Sabha, had gone to London and tried to ‘discredit’ India and said the democratic system in India is completely crumbling. He also said tforeign powers should save India's democracy. He tried to ‘deeply hurt’ India's honour and prestige,” said the minister.

He was referring to Mr Gandhi’s recent comments in London where he had talked about the Indian political situation under the BJP government.

Mr Singh told Speaker Om Birla that the House should condemn Mr Gandhi's remarks and the Congress leader should be directed to tender an apology. “I appeal to you for condemnation of Rahul Gandhi’s remarks by this House. You should also direct him to tender an apology in this House for his comments,” he said.

The Treasury members shouted slogans seeking Mr Gandhi’s apology. The Congress countered the allegations and came to the Well of the House to protest. Congress Lok Sabha MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury wrote to Speaker Om Birla asking him to expunge the statement of defence minister Rajnath Singh in which he made “certain comments on Rahul Gandhi”.

“Rajnath Singh is making baseless allegations on Rahul Gandhi. They won’t let us speak. The party in power has adopted the policy to keep their points and halt assembly… They are tarnishing the image of our party and Rahul Gandhi, this is a conspiracy,” said Mr Chowdhury.

Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi condemned Mr Gandhi for “seeking the intervention of foreign powers like the US and the Europe”, and asked where was democracy when fundamental rights were “trampled” during the Emergency and when an ordinance, duly approved by the Union Cabinet, was torn (by Rahul Gandhi during the UPA government).

Speaker Om Birla said democracy in India was strong and getting stronger. “Let the House function properly. Everyone will get an opportunity. Slogan-shouting is not good. The people of this country have great faith in our democracy. Even foreign MPs and chairs, who often visit us, accept this,” he said.

In the Rajya Sabha too, the BJP and Opposition MPs traded charges over Rahul Gandhi’s statement in London. Leader of the House and Union minister Piyush Goyal said he had raised a serious matter of a senior Congress leader going abroad and stating that democracy was in danger in India and even urged the US and Europe to interfere in the country’s affairs.

“The House must condemn such statements and unless he apologises, the country will not forgive him,” said Mr Goyal without referring to Mr Gandhi by name. Opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge objected to Mr Goyal’s statements, citing two previous rulings of the House, and asked Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar to expunge the remarks of the Leader of the House.

“There is nothing for which Rahul Gandhi needs to apologise,” said Congress MP Shashi Tharoor outside the House.

Later, at a joint press conference, which also saw the attendance of AAP and BRS members, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said: “There is no rule of law and democracy under Modiji. We are demanding the constitution of a JPC on the Adani stocks issue. When we raise this issue, then mics are switched off and a ruckus erupts in the House.”

After the joint press conference, Mr Kharge tweeted: “@narendramodi ji I want to remind you of your statement made in China. You said: ‘Earlier, you felt ashamed of being born Indian. Now you feel proud to represent the country’. Was this not an insult to India and Indians? Tell your ministers to refresh their memories! In South Korea, you had said: ‘There was a time when people used to feel that what sin they committed in their past life which resulted in taking birth in India, is this what you call a country’. First see the ‘Mirror of Truth’, before lecturing the Congress Party.”

Meanwhile, raising its pressure on the government, the Congress posed fresh questions about Gautam Adani’s alleged network of shell companies engaged in “opaque” financial transactions, and claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi got his “drum-beaters” to get Parliament adjourned so that the demand for a JPC into the Adani issue was not raised.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story