Senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Monday, demanding that certain remarks of Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Pralhad Joshi seeking Rahul Gandhi’s apology over his “democracy under attack” comments be expunged.
In a letter to the speaker, the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha said during the Question Hour, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made certain comments about Mr Gandhi with regard to speeches delivered by the Congress leader in the United Kingdom recently.
“Minister of Parliamentary Affairs (Joshi) also made remarks on the above issue. The remarks made by the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs were not in good taste and were unparliamentary,” Mr Chowdhury said.
He cited Rule 352, which provides that a member, while speaking, shall not make a personal reference by way of levelling an allegation, imputing a motive to or questioning the bona fide of any other member of the House.
“Rule 353 also states that no allegation of a defamatory or incriminating nature shall be made unless the member has given adequate notice to the speaker. Moreover, 357 provides that the speaker shall allow a member to make a personal explanation if something has been alleged against him,” the Congress leader said.
“Today, both the ministers made unsubstantiated remarks against our leader without a prior notice and no opportunity was accorded to the members of his party to refute the allegations,” he added.
Mr Chowdhury requested Mr Birla to expunge the statements of Mr Singh and Mr Joshi.
After the obituary references in the House, the Deputy Leader of the Lok Sabha stood up and accused Mr Gandhi of trying to defame India in London through his remarks on Indian democracy.
He also told the speaker that the House should condemn Mr 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,” Mr Singh said.
Mr Joshi asked where was democracy when fundamental rights were “trampled” during the Emergency or when an ordinance duly approved by the Union Cabinet was torn (during the days of the previous Congress-led UPA government).
He condemned Mr Gandhi for “seeking the intervention of foreign powers like the United States and Europe”.
“If he has some shame, he should come to this House and tender an apology. This is our demand,” the parliamentary affairs minister said.
He said India is the mother of democracy and Mr Gandhi allegedly cast aspersions on the speaker and the chair of the House on foreign soil.
“Rahul Gandhi accused the speaker…. But his microphone was on. He was given enough opportunity to speak and he spoke in the House freely,” Mr Joshi said.
For his part, Mr 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. The people of this country have great faith in our democracy. Even foreign MPs and chairs, who often visit us, accept this,” he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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