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regular-article-logo Thursday, 25 July 2024

Adani issue: Searing words in House of democracy

You dismiss me, expunge my views, but I can express my feelings: Kharge in Rajya Sabha

Basant Kumar Mohanty New Delhi Published 11.02.23, 03:30 AM
Kharge speaks in the Rajya Sabha on Friday.

Kharge speaks in the Rajya Sabha on Friday. PTI

The Rajya Sabha on Friday witnessed a veteran public figure like Mallikarjun Kharge being compelled to assert in the august House one of the basic rights in a democracy that many take for granted.

“You dismiss me, expunge my views, but I can express my feelings,” Kharge, leader of the Opposition in the House, told Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar. Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha on Friday trained their guns on Dhankhar over the expunction of certain phrases from the speech of Kharge.

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Kharge, who was denied an opportunity to make a point of order (raise a procedural issue) on the expunction on Thursday just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi replied to the motion of thanks to the President’s address, was allowed to speak by Dhankhar on Friday after protests by Congress members.

As Kharge stood up to speak on the expunction, the treasury benches shouted “Modi, Modi…” and Dhankhar asked the leader of the House, Piyush Goyal, to prevail upon the members.

Goyal said the protest by the Opposition parties on Thursday was an act of contempt to the House. Kharge questioned the rationale for expunging certain terms from his speech. He said none of them was unparliamentary.

“All the issues we raise are against the government, not you. You expunged six points. None of them unparliamentary,” he said. Kharge started reading the points expunged.

Dhankhar prevented Kharge over lithium from reading the points and said they would not be part of the record.

The Congress members entered the Well of the House to protest the Chairman’s actions. They shouted slogans like “We want JPC” (joint parliamentary committee on the Adani group) and “Adani ki Janch Karo”.

Dhankhar warned them that they would be named in the bulletin — an action intended at shaming the members.

The Chairman said he stopped Kharge because the leader was reading the expunged portions. Kharge was seen expressing his disapproval.

It was then that he said: “I raised certain points as per rule only. You dismiss me, expunge my views, but I can express my feelings.”

The Congress members staged a walkout immediately. Earlier, CPI leader Binoy Viswam and Bharat Rashtra Samiti leader Kesav Rao expressed concern over the conduct of the House.

The Chairman said he was functioning in line with established rules and procedures. He said any wrong precedence of the past cannot be cited as a defence for repeating the wrong.

Kharge had cited a term used by Atal Bihari Vajpayee against then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao in the Lok Sabha and the phrase stays in the proceedings.

When Kharge used the same term against Modi, it was expunged on Wednesday.

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