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Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha adjourned amid row over Rahul Gandhi's remarks on Indian democracy

BJP leaders in both the houses said Gandhi has tried to 'defame' India through his democracy in danger comment

Our Web Desk Published 13.03.23, 02:03 PM
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  • Rajya Sabha session adjourned to 14 March
  • Lok Sabha session adjourned till 11 am on 14 March
  • Rajya Sabha session resumes after 2 pm amid ruckus in House as per NDTV

Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned in the pre-lunch session on Monday amid chaos by ruling BJP and opposition MPs, who traded charges over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's Indian-democracy-in-danger statement made in London recently.


The ruckus led to the adjournment of proceedings till 2 pm.

Piyush Goyal slams Rahul in Rajya Sabha

While the House and Union minister Piyush Goyal demanded that Gandhi come to the House and apologise for his "shameful" and "rubbish" statements made in London, Congress leader M Mallikarjun Kharge countered by questioning how a leader who is not an MP of Rajya Sabha can be called to the House. Kharge also referred to statements that Prime Minister Narendra Modi made abroad.

When Goyal, who was given the floor twice by the chair, spoke, the Congress and other opposition MPs vociferously protested and the treasury benches returned the favour when Kharge made his submission.

Soon after obituary references were made and official papers laid on the table, Goyal rose to speak about the "shameful" statements made by Gandhi.

Without taking the name of Gandhi, he demanded an apology from the Congress party and the leader.

His remarks were punctuated by opposition protests.

Dhankhar restored order in the House and again gave Goyal the floor.

"In a shameful manner, an opposition leader in a foreign country talks 'anap shanap' (rubbish) about the Indian democracy," Goyal said. "He makes allegations against the Indian press, Indian judiciary, Indian media, election commission and the Indian Army." Gandhi also talked rubbish about a social welfare organisation, Goyal said, referring to the Congress leader's statements against the RSS.

Stating that the entire world was praising India and its democracy, the minister said India is the mother of all democracies.

"For his incorrect allegations, the opposition parties and the leader should come to the House and apologise to the people of the country, apologies to this House, apologise to the chair. And he has to understand what democracy is," Goyal said.

Goyal went on to state that democracy was in danger when fundamental rights were suspended and the press muzzled during the Emergency imposed by Congress in 1975.

"Democracy is in danger when the prime minister's stature is challenged by the same leader by tearing legislation in front of the press. Democracy is in danger when their prime minister is forced to say I cannot stop corruption because it is a coalition government," he said.

His statements were countered by Leader of the Opposition and Congress president Kharge, who said the demand to call a leader who is not a member of Rajya Sabha to the House is condemnable.

Gandhi is a Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad in Kerala.

Kharge then recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement abroad but was interrupted by slogan shouting by treasury benches. Their slogans seeking an apology from Gandhi drowned his voice.

Rajnath Singh, Pralhad Joshi takes aim at Rahul Gandhi in Lok Sabha

After obituary references in the House, Defence Minister and Deputy Leader of the Lok Sabha Rajnath Singh stood up and charged that Gandhi has 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 that foreign powers should save India's democracy. He tried to 'deeply hurt' India's honour and prestige,” he said.

Singh appealed to Speaker Om Birla that the House should condemn 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.

Ruling NDA members shouted slogans seeking Gandhi's apology even before Singh started to speak.

The opposition Congress protested strongly too and came to the well of the House.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi asked where was democracy when fundamental rights were "trampled" during the Emergency and where was democracy when an ordinance, duly approved by the Union Cabinet, was torn (by Rahul Gandhi during the UPA government).

“When fundamental rights were trampled during the Emergency, who was in power, and what had happened to democracy then. When an ordinance, which was duly approved by the Union Cabinet chaired by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and in attendance of cabinet ministers like Sharad Pawar and Pranab Mukherjee, was torn apart and described as nonsense, where was democracy at that time," he asked.

“When the then prime minister looked 'helpless', where was democracy then,” he asked.

Joshi said he condemns Gandhi for "seeking intervention of foreign powers like the US and Europe".

“If he has some shame, he should come to this House and tender an apology. This is our demand,” he said.

Joshi said India is the mother of democracy and Gandhi allegedly cast aspersions on the Speaker and Chair of the House in foreign soil.

“Rahul accused the speaker... But his microphone was on. He was given enough opportunity to speak and spoke in the House freely,” he said.

Speaker Om Birla said democracy in India is strong and getting stronger.

“Let the House function properly. Everyone will get an opportunity. Slogan-shouting is not good. People of this country have great faith in our democracy. Even foreign MPs and chairs, who often visit us, accept this,” he said.

As Congress members continued protests, the speaker adjourned the House till 2 pm.

Written with PTI inputs

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