Opposition Congress on Thursday raised an objection to Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar deleting some portions of Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge’s speech from official records, saying he used no unparliamentary words and some of the expressions he employed were earlier used even by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Dhankar however ruled out a review saying he has already taken a call.
At the start of day’s proceedings in Rajya Sabha, Congress MPs were up on their feet questioning the rationale behind the expunging of remarks made on Wednesday, when similar ones were made by former prime ministers Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh in the House and which continue to be part of the proceedings.
Kharge said that things said in the House as per rules and procedures during the discussion on the motion thanking the President for her address to the joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha at the start of the Budget session cannot be expunged.
”I neither used any unparliamentary word or language nor made any allegation on anyone,” he said. ”Yet you pick out some words… I won’t say you misinterpreted them but if you had any doubt you could have sought clarification in a different fashion.” Instead, six different parts of speech were expunged, he said, again referring to an expression he had used on Thursday to describe Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Dhankar asked him not to do that.
But Kharge said these were the same words that were used in the House on previous occasions as well. ”Vajpayee had used the same expression for (ex-Prime Minister) P V Narasimha Rao. It is still part of the record, you can see that.” And when party leaders including chief whip Jairam Ramesh try to raise a point, they are cut short, he said. ”You say this is not right… you sit down… you should read. He (Ramesh) has been educated from Harvard University and knows Hindi, Kannada, English, which other language should he know. And knows parliamentary language and yet you keep interrupting him. This is not right.” He asked the chairman to look into the records.
When Kharge said whoever comes to his defence is interrupted by the chair, Dhankar said the ultimate defender of the LoP is the chair.
”But that is not happening,” Kharge shot back. ”You are expunging.” Earlier, Jairam Ramesh said Kharge had only used parliamentary words and language. ”What is the use of speaking when it is expunged? This is wrong… We can’t accept this (ruling to expunge).” Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar retorted back, ”What do you mean by ‘nahi man sakte’ (can’t accept).” ”What do you mean by being so judgmental,” he asked Ramesh. ”I am surprised.” Mukul Wasnik (Congress) said the opposition parties gave notices seeking discussion on the issue but the chairman rejected them saying MPs would be free to speak on the subject during the debate on a motion thanking the President for her address to the joint sitting of both houses of Parliament.
The Leader of the Opposition expressed his views during the debate on the motion on Wednesday but ”you have expunged it,” he said. ”Which part of LoP’s speech was unparliamentary,” he asked.
Pramod Tiwari said words that Kharge used to describe the Prime Minister were previously spoken in Parliament as well as in the state assemblies of Odisha and Karnataka. ”They are entirely parliamentary.” Former prime minister Manmohan Singh had used the same words in Rajya Sabha previously and it is part of the House records, he claimed. He asked the chair to protect the Parliamentary traditions as Kharge was speaking as per his direction to express his views on the subject during the debate on Motion of Thanks and not raise it through a 267 notice.
”I request you that the words that have been expunged should continue to remain part of the proceedings,” he said.
Dhankhar said, ”I examined the proceedings in light of the rules framed by the House. And rule 261 casts an obligation on me… to make such sweeping observations that everything has been removed is not appropriate. I expect the honourable members first to go through what has been expunged.” he said. ”I would urge you again that we are in a House where some decorum has to be maintained.” ”I have taken my call,” he added when Congress MPs pressed him.
Earlier, Dhankhar said he had rejected notices given by K Keshava Rao of BRS and Sanjay Singh of AAP as they were not in order.
The two wanted suspension of the listed business to take up discussion on US short-seller Hindenburg Research’s allegations against the Adani group and the rout in shares it had caused.
Singh said this was an ”Adani-Modi scam” and demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe.
The party thereafter walked out of the House in protest of the 267 notice not being allowed.