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Democracy strangulated by govt: Sonia Gandhi on suspension of MPs

Gandhi highlighted the unprecedented number of Opposition MPs suspended, emphasising that they were penalised 'simply for raising a perfectly reasonable and legitimate' demand.
hemin Joy
Last Updated : 20 December 2023, 06:45 IST
Last Updated : 20 December 2023, 06:45 IST

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New Delhi: In her first comments after the setback in the recent Assembly elections, top Congress leader Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday said it would be an "understatement" to say that the outcome has been "very disappointing." She reminded the cadre that their task has been cut out for the Lok Sabha election as a party and as an I.N.D.I.A bloc member.

Addressing a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) at the Central Hall in Samvidhan Sabha (old Parliament building), chairperson Sonia said they were facing "enormous challenges," but she is confident that their fortitude and resilience will see the party through.

"To say that the assembly election results in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have been very disappointing for our party is an understatement. The Congress President has already held a first round of reviews to understand the reasons for our poor performance and draw the needed lessons for our organisation (sic)," she said.

She said the party's ideology and values are the guiding light at this difficult time and one must never forget that Congress leaders fought against insurmountable odds, with great courage and fortitude, to give the country its freedom.

"The Lok Sabha elections will be held in the next few months. We have our task cut out both as a party in our own right and also as a member of the I.N.D.I.A group. The Congress President has already launched our poll preparations. The rally being organised in Nagpur on our Foundation Day is a significant step in this direction," she said.

Commending party president Mallikajrun Kharge for his leadership in the last year, she said, "We must channel our disappointment into a positive drive for the coming general elections."

On the suspension of 143 MPs in this session alone, she expressed concern that democracy has been "strangulated" by the Modi government. She highlighted the unprecedented number of Opposition MPs suspended, emphasising that they were penalised "simply for raising a perfectly reasonable and legitimate" demand.

She said all that the Opposition MPs asked for was a statement to be made by the Home Minister in the Lok Sabha addressing the extraordinary events of December 13.

"There are no words to describe the arrogance with which this request was treated. What happened on December 13 is inexcusable and cannot be justified. It took four days for the Prime Minister to address the nation and express his views on the incident, and he did so outside the Parliament. By doing so, he clearly indicated his disdain for the dignity of the house and his disregard for the people of our country. I leave it to you to imagine how the BJP would have responded had they been in opposition today," she said.

She said the Winter Session has seen the passage of some important Bills relating to Jammu and Kashmir and those who "distort history and twist historical facts just to defame great patriots like Jawaharlal Nehru" have been running a relentless campaign.

She mentioned that the Prime Minister and the Home Minister have spearheaded that defamation campaign themselves. However, she asserted that the party will not be intimidated or cowed down.

"We will persist in telling the truth. Our position on Jammu and Kashmir has been clear and consistent," she said, emphasising the immediate need to restore full statehood and conduct elections. She also highlighted the importance of addressing the aspirations of the people of Ladakh, stating that they must be shown the respect they deserve.

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Published 20 December 2023, 06:45 IST

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