Deccan Chronicle

Opposition rules out Rahul's apology, as storm stalls Houses second day

Deccan Chronicle. | DC Correspondent

Published on: March 14, 2023 | Updated on: March 15, 2023

The Congress-led opposition waved placards with quotes from speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visits abroad

MPs of AAP and BRS stage a protest near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi demanding joint parliamentary committee probe into Adani row during the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi (PTI Photo/Kamal Singh)

MPs of AAP and BRS stage a protest near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi demanding joint parliamentary committee probe into Adani row during the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi (PTI Photo/Kamal Singh)

New Delhi: A war of words and aggressive posturing between the Treasury Benches and the Opposition parties continued and the parliamentary proceedings remained paralysed for the second consecutive day on Tuesday as the two sides locked horns over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s London remarks and Adani issues.

While the ruling party members wanted Mr Gandhi to apologise for his alleged "anti-India" remarks in London, the Opposition stepped up their demand to set up a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) on the Adani issue.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday held a meeting with his Cabinet colleagues, apparently to formulate the strategy for the ongoing session of Parliament. Leaders of 16 Opposition parties also held a meeting, during which they rejected any possibility of an apology from Mr Gandhi and decided to step up their demand for a JPC on the Adani issue.

The government's offensive against Mr Gandhi over his democracy remarks in London also came up for discussion at the meeting held in the chamber of Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge, sources said.

Congress parliamentary party chairperson Sonia Gandhi also met senior leaders of the party at the Congress office in Parliament House to discuss the party's strategy in the wake of the government's attack on Mr Gandhi.

The Congress said the Modi government's refusal to allow the Opposition to raise its demand for a JPC probe into the Adani issue was the reason for the impasse in Parliament.

In Lok Sabha, the BJP MPs raised slogans seeking an apology from Mr Gandhi soon after the House assembled, while the Congress-led Opposition waved placards with quotes from speeches of Mr Modi during his visits abroad.

"Rahul Gandhi maafi mango (Rahul Gandhi apologise)," the BJP members shouted repeatedly from their seats. Some ministers, too, were on their feet. To counter the government's attack, the Opposition members quoted the PM's speeches made abroad.

"Pata nahi pehle janam main kya paap kiya tha, Hindustan main paida hua (Don't know what sin I had committed that I was born in India)," read a placard waved by a Congress member, quoting the PM’s speech in Seoul in May 2015.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla tried to take up the Question Hour and appealed to the members to uphold the dignity of the House. Asking the Congress members, who were on their feet, to maintain the decorum of the House and not show placards, Mr Birla said they should let the Lok Sabha function.

However, protests continued from both sides. Amid the din, papers and standing committee reports were presented before the House was adjourned for the day.

In Rajya Sabha as well, the proceedings were adjourned for the day. Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar called a meeting of floor leaders to discuss the issue. However, when the Upper House reassembled post-lunch, Union minister and Leader of the House Piyush Goyal reiterated the government's stance that Mr Gandhi must apologise over his remarks.

Mr Dhankhar rejected notices under Rule 267 submitted by Congress members Pramod Tiwari, K.C. Venugopal, Kumar Ketkar, Neeraj Danghi, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Syed Naseer Hussain and Amee Yajnik to discuss the government's failure to constitute a JPC to investigate the charges of fraud, corruption and financial mismanagement by Adani Group companies.

The Rajya Sabha Chairman also rejected notices by the BRS's K. Kesava Rao and the AAP's Sanjay Singh to discuss the Hindenburg report on Adani Enterprises and other group companies, along with demands for discussions on the post-poll violence in Tripura and the prohibition of online gambling and regulation of online games in Tamil Nadu by other members.

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