Oppn stages LS walkout, FM slams double speak'

NEW DELHI: Accusing Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman of misleading the Lok Sabha, MPs from the Congress, DMK, TMC and the Left parties staged a walkout from the House.

Participating in a debate on the no-confidence motion on Thursday, Sitharaman said that it was difficult to figure out if the Opposition alliance "INDIA" is fighting together or fighting each other.

The Union finance minister also invoked Jayalalitha's saree incident and claimed that India's is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

Speaking during the No-Confidence motion in Parliament, Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia accused the Opposition of using Manipur violence as a "launchpad" for itself. While TMC MP Mahua Moitra Moitra said that the Opposition's No-Confidence motion was actually a "have confidence in INDIA" motion.

Taking on the Opposition, Sitharaman made extensive reference to Tamil Nadu in her speech. Referring to DMK MP Kanimozhi's speech on the Manipur issue, Sitharaman said that she wanted to remind her about an incident that happened on March 25, 1989 in the Tamil Nadu Assembly when the then Leader of the Opposition (LoP) Jayalalitha's saree was pulled inside the House.

"Jayalalitha's saree was pulled in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. Her saree was pulled and the DMK members sitting there heckled her, laughed at her and made fun of her," Union finance minister said.

Sitharaman pointed out that two years later she returned as chief minister of Tamil Nadu. "That party that was in power at that time sitting in the Assembly when the saree of the LoP was being pulled today talks of Draupadi," she said.

Referring to the Sengol, the Union finance minister said, "It was kept in some kind of museum. Is it not an insult to Tamil pride? So when the Prime Minister restored it to its rightful place in the Lok Sabha, it became an issue. This is an insult to Tamils".

Replying to a point raised by DMK MP T.R. Baalu, Sitharaman said, "It is sad that the senior member said that it was “shameful” that the Prime Minister had to borrow from Japan for building the AIIMS in Madurai.

"Land acquisition for the AIIMS in Madurai was delayed by the Tamil Nadu government, because of which the cost escalated. Financing the hospital is the responsibility of the Centre," she said, assuring the members that nothing will be lacking.

Soon after her reply on the matter, the Opposition MPs, including those from the DMK, Congress, TMC and Left parties, staged a walkout from the House, saying the minister was misleading the House.

Talking about the Indian economy, Sitharaman said that India is in a unique position of being optimistic and positive about its future growth when the global economy is struggling. She asserted the Narendra Modi government has transformed governance by delivering on its promises.

Sitharaman said that developed countries such as the US, the UK and the Euro zone are facing challenging times, while big economies such as China are also facing their own issues related to consumer demand and wage stagnation.

"In this background, look at the Indian economy... In 2013, Morgan Stanley called India a fragile economy. The same Morgan Stanley has upgraded India... Just in nine years, the fragile economy came out because of our government's policy. There was improvement despite Covid," she said.

Speaking against the No-Confidence motion, Scindia accused the Opposition alliance INDIA of misusing the violence in Manipur as a launchpad for itself.

"INDIA alliance is an arrogant bloc that got together in its greed for power but has differences within itself. The bloc is misusing the Manipur issue as a launchpad for itself. The situation that arose in view of the no-confidence motion is not about Manipur but about reaping political gains from the situation for them," Scindia said.

Targeting his former party, the Congress, Scindia said that all of the northeastern problems started with the appeasement politics of the Congress when they allowed intruders inside the border.

Scindia also hit out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's remarks, in which he said that for the Prime Minister, Manipur is not a part of India. "Seeing (regions of) India as different parts is your thought process, not ours. Mr Modi has his heart in the northeast and is also responsible for the abrogation of Article 370," Scindia said.

When the Opposition members took a dig at Scindia for leaving the Congress to join the BJP, he retorted, ‘You only changed me.’

Scindia also hit out at Gandhi's "Mohabbat ki dukaan" slogan, saying the shop has "corruption, lies, appeasement and arrogance". "You have changed the name of the dukaan (shop) but you are selling the same thing," he said.

From the Opposition bloc, Moitra launched a stinging attack, saying that the Opposition's no-confidence motion was actually a "have confidence in INDIA" motion and was aimed at breaking the omerta on Manipur.

Participating in the debate, Moitra said that the Manipur issue is mired in silence in the government's "whataboutery and false equivalences".

"We are here to ask questions in our 'tum abhi chup raho republic' - where the honourable PM tells the governor 'chup raho', where we as elected MPs in this House are routinely told 'chup raho'. This motion is to break omerta, this code of silence in Manipur, the most pressing issue of the day on which we are all supposed to 'raho chup'," she said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story