New Delhi: Lok Sabha proceedings were again adjourned for the day on Friday due to slogan shouting by the opposition and protests by the ruling party members over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s ”democracy-under-attack” remarks made in London recently.
Proceedings on Sansad TV were mostly inaudible. While Parliament sources said it was the result of a ‘technical glitch’, several Congress leaders alleged that proceedings were ”muted” when its MPs raised slogans demanding that Gandhi be allowed to speak, and asked if this was democracy.
This was for the fifth consecutive day that the House did not function ever since the second half of the budget session began on March 13. As soon as the Lok Sabha assembled for the day, some Congress members trooped to the Well of the House shouting slogans and demanded that Gandhi be allowed to speak in the House.
They also demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into alleged stock manipulation by the Adani Group, a business conglomerate headed by industrialist Gautam Adani.
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The members of the treasury benches also raised counter-slogans from their seats, demanding an apology from Gandhi for his remarks.
The turmoil continued for about 20 minutes, with Speaker Om Birla urging the members to allow the House to function smoothly.
”Honourable members, I appeal to you to allow the House to run smoothly. People did not send you here to do this. I will give everyone an opportunity to speak, but the House has to be in order,” he said.
The protesting members ignored his pleas and the speaker adjourned the House for the day. It will meet again on March 20.
In a tweet, the Congress alleged that the proceedings were ”muted” when its MPs raised slogans demanding that Gandhi be allowed to speak. Is this democracy, the party asked.
Tagging this tweet, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh posted: ”Democracy’ in words but ‘dictatorship’ in action.” Hitting out at the government, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said in a tweet in Hindi, ”Question of the people of the country: What is the relationship between the Prime Minister and Gautam Adani? Why is the Prime Minister not getting the allegations levelled against him (Adani) investigated? BJP government’s answer — Mute Modi ji.
Mute Parliament.” ”What is the reason that on hearing the questions related to Adani and the prime minister, the entire BJP goes into silent mode,” she asked.
Taking a dig at the government, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted, ”The muting of sound on @sansad_tv is a new technique. You don’t need to switch off individual microphones if you can shut down the transmission of sound to the world!.” Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and several other Union ministers were present in the House.
During his interactions in London, Rahul Gandhi had alleged that the structures of Indian democracy are under attack and there is a ”full-scale assault” on the country’s institutions.
The remarks triggered a political slugfest, with the BJP accusing Gandhi of maligning India on foreign soil and seeking foreign interventions, and the Congress hitting back at the ruling party by citing previous instances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising internal politics abroad.