Wasn't allowed to speak in Parliament meet, says Rahul

Rahul Gandhi writes to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, claims he was not allowed to speak in Parliament panel meet

In his letter, Gandhi urged the Speaker to ensure that the right of elected MPs to speak freely in parliamentary panel meetings is protected

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Credit: PTI

A day after walking out of a parliamentary panel meeting, Rahul Gandhi on Thursday shot off a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla complaining that he was not allowed to speak freely during the meeting.

Rahul, a Lok Sabha member from Wayanad, sought the intervention of the Speaker to ensure that members were allowed to speak freely during the meetings of the parliamentary committees.

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In his letter, the former Congress president urged the Speaker to ensure that the right of elected MPs to speak freely in parliamentary panel meetings was protected.

He also said the Speaker, being the custodian of Parliament, should ensure that the discussions and presentations in the panel on defence are in consonance with its role and objectives.

Rahul and Congress members Rajeev Satav and A Revanth Reddy had walked out of a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence on Wednesday contending that it was wasting time discussing uniforms of the armed forces instead of issues of national security.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had accused Rahul of insulting the parliamentary system by walking out of the meeting and asked him to learn to respect constitutional institutions.

"In the last one-and-a-half years, there have been a total of 14 meetings. He was present in just two of the meetings. He was absent in the other 12. He was not even present in the agenda-setting meeting for the year," Javadekar said.

Read: Rahul Gandhi, Congress members walk out of Defence Parliament panel meeting

"It is the right of a member to point out digressions from the agenda and the purpose of the Standing Committee. The committee is free to disagree with what I say, but the fact that the chairman does not even permit a member to speak is a sad comment on how the government handles military affairs," Rahul said in his letter to the Speaker.

"Sir, as Speaker of the Lok Sabha and custodian of the House, I urge you to intervene and ensure that the discussion and presentations held in the defence committee are in consonance with the role and objective of the institution and that the right of elected MP''s to speak freely is protected," he said in the letter.

Rahul also expressed his dismay over the contents of the meeting and the manner in which it was conducted. He said the committee was meant to provide legislative oversight on the policies and decisions of the defence ministry and not being the premier interface between the defence forces and elected representatives.