The Congress today upped the ante in the Lok Sabha over the issue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh, with the party protesting the Speaker’s decision not to allow them to raise the matter and asking her where was “justice”.
Continuing with its protests on the issue for the fourth straight day, belligerent Congress members trooped into the Well during the Question Hour and raised slogans, even as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan went ahead with the proceedings. Little over 30 minutes into the Question Hour, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia raised serious concern about not being given the chance to raise the issue. The vociferous protests continued into the Zero Hour. But when the Speaker refused to allow them to raise the issue, they staged a walk-out.
As the protests continued, Mahajan said she would not allow them and asserted that the issue was something that was raised at a public meeting and “this is an elected House”. With the Speaker not budging, a visibly agitated Scindia said the party has been raising the issue for four days but they were not being given an opportunity to speak. Apparently referring to the Chair, he asked “where is justice” and wondered “what kind of Parliament is this? Give us a minute (to speak),” he said. “What is the meaning of being an MP? This government doesn’t want to listen (to) us, this government doesn’t want to listen to the people’s voice,” Scindia said.He also took a swipe at the ruling party saying they want to listen to only “Mann ki Baat”, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly radio address.
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi was seen thumping the desk when Scindia was speaking amid the din. “Give the Opposition a chance. Don’t deprive us of our rights. You have to give us time. You have to listen (to) us. Without listening, you are pushing us to the gallows,” Scindia said. His statement came as discussions between his party and the government over ending the stalemate did not fructify on Wednesday. The Congress leader also wanted to know what kind of practice or rule was this that the opposition was not being given a chance to speak. “It is a serious issue, the allegation was against an ex-Prime Minister, an ex-Vice President and ex-Army chief,” Scindia said referring to Modi’s remarks at a recent election rally in Gujarat.
Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was also heard telling the Speaker to give them time. “Madam, please look towards us. We are seeking two minutes out of 24 hours,” he said.Around 20 Congress members were in the Well shouting slogans against the government and occasionally, they were also clapping their hands. The members raised slogans such as ‘Pradhan Mantri maafi maango (Prime Minister, apologise)’, ‘Taanashahi bandh karo (stop authoritarianism)’ and ‘Shame, shame’.