Sumitra, Kharge spar in Lok Sabha

Sumitra, Kharge spar in Lok Sabha

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Thursday took umbrage at suggestions of the Congress led by Mallikarjun Kharge that her decisions in the conduct of the House could be influenced by the Modi government.

A visibly upset Mahajan rejected Kharge’s charge. “It would be better if you refrain from making such comments,” the Speaker said, adding that she had always allowed the Opposition to raise issues whenever leaders had given proper notice. The Opposition leaders wanted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make a statement in the House on the controversial remarks by Minister Niranjan Jyoti.

“When you did not grant me permission to speak I felt – I cannot say that you did this under their (government) pressure,” Kharge said, leading to strong objections from the treasury benches.

Trouble began as the Speaker went ahead with the Question Hour ignoring vociferous demands from Opposition members for a statement from the prime minister on the controversial remarks by Jyoti. Members from the Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC), Left parties and the Samajwadi Party were in the Well of the Lok Sabha raising slogans against the Modi government.

As Mahajan allowed Kharge to speak after the Question Hour, the Congress leader appeared to suggest that the Speaker could be influenced by the government.

“You did not allow me to have my say. I felt bad. This is not proper. If this happens then how should a democracy function? You are aware this House has seen paper weights being thrown around and papers being torn,” he said. TMC members protested when Speaker asked their leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay to follow proper procedure before raising any issue in the House.

“If you do not give me time then I have to tell in one word what Kharge has said. We fully agree with him and support him. We are walking out. You are not allowing us to speak,” Bandyopadhyay said.

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