Rahul Gandhi speech in Lok Sabha: BJP’s cry on breach of privilege may land party in trouble, says report

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New Delhi | Published: July 23, 2018 11:59 AM

After Rahul's hug to Prime Minister Narendra Modi nonplussed them, a few BJP MPs came out of Lok Sabha claiming that the Congress president's speech during Friday's no-confidence motion amounted to a breach of privilege

Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi in Parliament

The unwarranted exuberance of some Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) leaders following Rahul Gandhi’s speech in Parliament could invite trouble for the ruling party. After Rahul’s hug to Prime Minister Narendra Modi nonplussed them, a few BJP MPs came out of Lok Sabha claiming that the Congress president’s speech during Friday’s no-confidence motion amounted to a breach of privilege and that the BJP would bring a motion on this in the house. Union minister Ananth Kumar had said that the party would move a privilege motion against the Congress president.

In a notice sent on behalf of the BJP, Prahlad Joshi, MP, alleged that Rahul Gandhi made baseless allegations on the Rafale deal. “… [H]e [Rahul] made serious, baseless and wild allegations against the government and particularly against the Prime Minister with regard to the Rafale deal,” Joshi said in a statement, adding that it had been made to “mislead the members and the House” and “to bring disrepute to the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister”.

Joshi’s statement said: “He [Mr. Gandhi] stated that under pressure from the PM, [Defence Minister] Nirmala Sitharaman told lies to the nation. He alleged that the PM cheated his own Army on dealing with China on the Doklam issue.”

However, the assertion of the BJP leaders of their future plans before the media prior to informing the House could go against them. As per rules, members need to move the notice of breach of privilege and inform members in House. Only then the lawmaker can make this public, IE reported. Ironically, failing to inform the parliament before going public about plans to move a privilege motion may invite trouble for the BJP.

In the past there have been instances that such action has invited proceedings for breach of privilege. BJP, however, has a way out. Some of its members who did not speak their minds in public could move the breach of privilege notice in House.

On a day marked with a lot of emotion and theatrics, Rahul Gandhi alleged that the Defence Minister, allegedly at the behest of the Prime Minister, “lied to the country” about the defence deal for purchase of Rafale jets from France.

Sitharaman denied the allegations in parliament. The government of France also responded to the allegations made by the Congress president on the floor of the Parliament and said that a secrecy clause did exist in the deal under which the price of the jets could not be disclosed.

On Saturday, Rahul Gandhi said he remains on his stand on allegations against the government and said he will not apologise.

What is privilege motion?

Parliamentary privilege provides certain rights and immunities to Parliament. MPs of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha also enjoy certain rights and immunities. Any sort of violation of these guidelines. The violater can face imprisonment.

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