‘A person who can feast at cremation ground’: Dhankhar slams Jairam Ramesh, calls him unfit to be an MP

08:17 AM Feb 11, 2024 | PTI |

New Delhi: Vice President and Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar on Saturday said he thought of quitting after Jairam Ramesh and other Congress MPs heckled him for giving the floor to Jayant Singh to speak on the government decision to confer the Bharat Ratna on his grandfather and former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh.


Dhankhar hinted that this episode pained him more than the death of his young son and hit out at Ramesh saying he is a person “who feasts at cremation ground” and is not fit to be a member of the Upper House because of this misconduct.

Trouble began when Dhankhar called Singh to speak soon after the House met for the day.

The Congress MPs’ contention was that neither did the chairman indicate when he was giving the floor to Jayant Singh nor did the business papers of the House list any statement by anyone on the government’s decision to confer the Bharat Ratna on former prime ministers P V Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh and agricultural scientist M S Swaminathan.

During this time, Ramesh made certain remarks and asked Singh where he wanted to go, in a hint that his Rashtriya Lok Dal was close to snap ties with the opposition and align with the BJP for the Lok Sabha elections.


This infuriated Dhankhar. He termed Ramesh unfit to be in the House.

Later, after the discussion on the government’s white paper on the economy, the chairman again attacked the Congress leader and condemned his behaviour.

“I heard what Jairam Ramesh said to Jayant…you (Ramesh) are a person who can feast at the cremation ground,” he said after the initial ruckus.

“It is a matter of fact that you (Ramesh) do not deserve to be part of this House for this misconduct.” As Congress MPs protested, Dhankhar allowed Leader of the Opposition and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge to speak.

Kharge said there was no debate on the government decision to honour leaders with the Bharat Ratna. “I salute everyone. But if a member wants to raise an issue, you (chairman) ask ‘under which rule’. (I want to know) under which rule he (Jayant Singh) has been allowed to speak.”

“Give permission to us also. On one side you talk about rules…you have discretion…that discretion should be used judiciously and not as and when you want,” Kharge said.

Claiming that the chairman was “not following the rules”, he said that had a discussion on Bharat Ratna been included in the House agenda, everybody would have participated in it.

Dhankhar expressed unhappiness at the objections raised by Kharge and even accused Congress leaders of insulting Charan Singh and his legacy.

He also gave the floor to the treasury benches. Union minister Parshottam Rupala expressed surprise that the Congress was “opposing” the awarding of Bharat Ratna to Chaudhary Charan Singh.

“Leader of Opposition is challenging the Chair and that too on such an occasion…this is the real face of Congress… Congress has been exposed,” Rupala said.

Leader of the House and Union Minister Piyush Goyal demanded an apology from Kharge for ‘disrespecting’ the Chair.

Dhankhar then read out a notice he had received from Jayant Singh to speak for a couple of minutes and allowed the RLD leader to complete his submission.

Opposition MPs stated that the unpleasant situation would have played out if only the chair had indicated right in the beginning about the notice and the reason for giving Singh the permission to speak.

Later, after the discussion on the white paper on the economy, Dhankhar again expressed his anguish.

“It was a painful day for me today. I seek your protection. It becomes hard sometimes to follow a dignified path,” he said. “With pain I bring to your notice one subject for pondering… I want to share and discuss one important matter with you.”

He said the behaviour was “unexpected”, “shameful” and “painful”.

“It was against our dignity. Our behaviour was so low during this period that I felt ashamed,” he said. “Various thoughts came to my mind, I also thought about leaving the post.” He said that being a son of a farmer, he has seen difficult times.

“I lost my grownup son. But today’s pain (was more) when Jayant Chaudhary was speaking, what was Jairam Ramesh saying?”

“I have heard (he said) go where you want to go… ‘shamshan ghat ke upar utsav nahin manaya jata hai’ (you don’t feast at crematorium),” he said, adding this cannot be overlooked.

Stating that he did not want to stretch the matter, he said political arguments aside, ‘we should be sensitive when it comes to respect of leaders.’

“This thing will not stay in the House, it will go to crores of people outside. This shouldn’t happen,” he said.

“I am very sad and I am sure you will appreciate it, we must in one voice condemn it. Personally I condemn it and I request you all to also condemn it. We have reached the lowest level in the House, we should not let it go down further.” He asked what would have happened if Singh had spoken for two minutes.

“Kharge does not respect the chair…to speak loudly, challenge the chair, doesn’t suit anyone, especially the leader of the opposition. I am sorry for saying such things and for not doing much to not let the level fall so low in the House.”


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