Launching a counter-offensive against the Opposition’s charges of abrupt end of the Parliament’s Monsoon Session and manhandling of its MPs, the BJP-led government demanded the former’s apology for its “disruptive and threatening behaviour”.
Seven Union ministers, including Pralhad Joshi, Piyush Goyal and Anurag Thakur, took turns to lash out at the Opposition and said that the Rajya Sabha Chairman must take the strongest possible action against those who broke the rules.
Addressing a joint press conference here, they also accused the opposition leaders of manhandling marshals, while Union Minister Piyush Goyal said that the Opposition’s approach of “my way or highway is highly condemnable” and the country also condemns such attitude.
Goyal, also Leader of House in Rajya Sabha, said the group of ministers met Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the House and made an earnest appeal that the strongest possible action should be taken against the opposition MPs for their deplorable behavior and manhandling marshals.
Press Conference on conclusion of the Parliament Session
Watch on PIB's????
Facebook: https://t.co/ykJcYlvi5b https://t.co/f69813sNNK
— PIB India (@PIB_India) August 12, 2021
He said the Opposition was unable to digest the fact that the country has given up on them and their behaviour in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday was a new low of the parliamentary democracy.
Taking further the attack on the Opposition, Union Minister Anurag Thakur said that the Secretary General’s table in Rajya Sabha is not meant for dancing and protesting.
“People wait for their issues to be raised in Parliament. Whereas anarchy remained the Opposition’s agenda. They didn’t care about people, taxpayers’ money. What happened was condemnable. Instead of shedding crocodile tears, they must apologise to nation,” he said.
“PM had told new ministers to go to Rajya Sabha & listen to quality debates. But we got feedback from them that what are the tables for – to dance on or is there some other purpose of the tables? Were Ministers asked to come to this RS where democracy was insulted?” Thakur added.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said. He alleged that it was pre-decided by Congress and its friendly allies that they would not allow Parliament to function.
Thakur alleged that “anarchy from streets to Parliament” was the Opposition’s only agenda during the monsoon session. He said the Opposition should apologise to the nation for what happened in Parliament during the monsoon session.
There can be differences in opinion but the Parliament cannot be held hostage by anyone. By not allowing the Parliament to run peacefully throughout the #MonsoonSession,opposition led by @INCIndia have sullied the sanctity of our temple of democracy & also attempted to muzzle it.
— Dharmendra Pradhan (@dpradhanbjp) August 12, 2021
Replying to the BJP’s counter-attack, Congress MP Chhaya Verma refused to tender an apology and alleged that only their party members got injured in Wednesday’s ruckus at the Parliament. “Our one MP got injured during yesterday’s incident in the Upper House. They were manhandled. Ask Piyush Goyal that what’s the point of deploying so many marshals in the House. Why would I apologise?” she said.
Leaders of opposition parties also issued a joint statement today accused the government of deliberately derailing Parliament and alleged that opposition MPs including women members were manhandled by outsiders who were not part of Parliament security.
They condemned the “authoritarian attitude” and “undemocratic actions” of the government and said what had happened in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday was shocking and an insult to the dignity of the House and humiliation of the members. Accusing the government of stonewalling their demand for discussion, the opposition leaders charged that was it running away from the debate on Pegasus snooping issue.
Leaders of several opposition parties on Thursday marched in protest against the government on several issues, including Pegasus, farm laws, and alleged manhandling of their MPs in Rajya Sabha, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi saying the voice of people was crushed in Parliament and democracy was “murdered”.
Earlier in the day, a group of Union ministers, including Pralhad Joshi and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, called on Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu and met him at his residence. Separately, a group of opposition leaders also met Naidu and complained against the alleged heckling of MPs including some women.
The tumultuous Monsoon Session was on Wednesday curtailed by two days even as an anguished Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu broke down over the huge ruckus in the House equating the act of some opposition MPs to “sacrilege in temple of democracy” and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla saying he was “extremely hurt” by continuous disruptions.
The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha adjourned sine die before the scheduled date of August 13 amid the unrelenting opposition protests over the Pegasus snooping row and the three farm laws but not before the Upper House passed the key constitutional amendment bill to restore the powers of the states to make their own OBC lists to pave the way for Parliament’s approval.