Parliament Budget Session: Meeting of leaders from like-minded opposition parties underway
New Delhi: A meeting of leaders from like-minded opposition parties is underway at the office of LoP Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge in Parliament to chalk out the strategy for the floor of the House on Monday, All India Congress Committee (AICC) informed.
Notably, the proceedings in the two Houses of Parliament were disrupted for the fifth day on Friday as the ruling BJP and opposition parties sought to vociferously raise their issues. The acrimony continued to play out outside the Parliament with leaders from BJP and Congress targeting each other over Rahul Gandhi's remarks and the Adani issue.
After the Lok Sabha met for the day, opposition members came near the Speaker's podium over their demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the Hindenburg-Adani row. The BJP members raised the demand for an apology from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his remarks in the United Kingdom, alleging that they had maligned institutions in the country.
Congress alleged that the audio was muted after they raised slogans that Rahul Gandhi should be allowed to respond to allegations of BJP leaders against him.
Congress members alleged that there was no audio for about 20 minutes of the House proceedings.
Government sources said the audio was muted due to a "technical fault".
The Rajya Sabha also witnessed disruptions and was adjourned for the day. The House earlier took up some of the listed business.
The second part of the Budget session began on March 13.
BJP leaders continued to mount an attack on Rahul Gandhi outside the Parliament over his remarks during his visit to the United Kingdom.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief JP Nadda said Rahul Gandhi has become a permanent part of the "anti-nationalist toolkit".
"It is unfortunate that the Congress party is indulging in anti-national activities. After being repeatedly rejected by the nation, Rahul Gandhi has now become a permanent part of this anti-nationalist toolkit," Nadda told ANI.
He accused Rahul Gandhi of seeking "intervention of another country in the internal matters of India".
"Rahul Gandhi, what is your intention when you demand the intervention of another country in the internal matters of India? At a time when India is becoming the 5th largest economy in the world and G20 meetings are being held here, Rahul Gandhi on foreign soil is insulting the nation and the Parliament," Nadda said.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge hit back at Nadda over his remarks against Rahul Gandhi.
"They (BJP) themselves are anti-national. They never took part in India's freedom movement, worked for the Britishers and they are calling others anti-national? They are doing this to deviate from issues of unemployment and inflation," Kharge alleged.
"Can Rahul Gandhi ever be anti-national? Are people who debate about democracy anti-national?. I condemn JP Nadda's remarks. There is no point of apologising. We will give a strong reply to this in the Parliament. Rahul Gandhi will himself reply on this, that's why they (BJP) are scared," he asked.
Kharge alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had "insulted" the country on multiple occasions.
"PM Modi said people and businessmen say that what sin I committed to having born in India'. Those who insulted the people of the country are calling us anti-national? First, he should apologize," Kharge said.
Rahul Gandhi refused to respond to Nadda's jibe against him.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur hit out at Rahul Gandhi over his "unfortunately I am MP" remark at a press conference which he subsequently corrected after being checked by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.
The clip of the press conference where Rahul Gandhi is being corrected by Jairam Ramesh went viral.
"Sometimes, the truth comes out naturally, and as Rahul rightly said, unfortunately, he is a member of the Parliament, because of the way he uses foreign soil to defame and spread lies about the same prestigious institution, the Parliament of India, of which unfortunately he is a member," Thakur told ANI.
"Today 'RAHUL' stands for 'Regretful Awful Hateful Ungrateful Liar,'" he added.
The Union Minister said that Rahul should come and issue an unconditional apology.
"But he is still putting conditions to that. Is he above the rule of the land? Is he above the rules and procedures of the House? Does the Gandhi family still feel that they are above the country and the Parliament?" Thakur asked.
"He (Rahul Gandhi) has to understand that the Parliament is run as per the rules and procedure of the House and as per the direction given by the honourable Speaker. But that can only happen if he comes to the House and reads the rules and procedures. I believe he will understand that and come and apologise to the House and the Parliament," Thakur added.
Rahul said on Thursday hoped to speak in Parliament in detail after four ministers made allegations against him over his remarks in the United Kingdom.
"So, if Indian democracy was functioning, I would be able to say my piece in Parliament. So, actually what you are seeing, is a test of Indian democracy. After four leaders of the BJP have made an allegation about a Member of Parliament, is that Member of Parliament going to be given the same space that those four Ministers have been given or is he going to be told to shut up? That's what the real question in front of this country is right now," Rahul Gandhi said.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor defended Rahul Gandhi and there is nothing he should apologise for.
"Rahul Gandhi never demanded foreign forces come to our country to save our democracy. He hasn't said anything he should apologise for. It's nonsense," Tharoor told ANI.
"Democracy, in our country, is in danger and everyone should know about it. I didn't hear anything wrong in it", added Congress MP Tharoor.
In his lecture at Cambridge University Rahul Gandhi had said that everybody knows and it's been in the news a lot "that Indian democracy is under pressure and under attack".
The first week of the second part of the budget session of Parliament has been marred by disruptions with the two Houses not able to conduct any major business. The budget session of parliament will conclude on April 6. (ANI)