Congress’ Kharge promises to meet VP Jagdeep Dhankar soon

| Updated: 25 December, 2023 3:14 pm IST

NEW DELHI: In an exchange of words, the Congress president and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge responded sharply to Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, expressing concerns over the sweeping suspension of MPs across both houses of Parliament. Kharge’s retort labelled the mass suspensions as a preconceived agenda of the government.

Following Dhankhar’s invitation for discussions on various issues within the Upper House, Kharge, currently away from Delhi, extended his readiness for a meeting upon his return. He said, “While I am currently out of Delhi, it would be my privilege and indeed my duty to meet you at your earliest convenience as soon as I am back in Delhi.”

The exchange between Dhankhar and Kharge has revolved around parliamentary disruptions, passage of bills, and the suspension of MPs, each defending their stance through a series of letters.

Kharge aligned with Dhankhar’s proposal to move forward post the Winter Session, emphasising the need to uphold parliamentary principles, democratic values, and the sanctity of the Constitution against what he termed as an authoritarian government’s attempts to undermine Parliament.

Earlier correspondence from Dhankhar expressed dismay at Kharge’s refusal to engage in the Chamber of the House, deeming it unprecedented and contrary to established parliamentary norms. Dhankhar highlighted his efforts, including adjournments and attempts at interaction, before resorting to the “unpleasant step” of suspending the MPs.

In response, Kharge pointedly referred to his earlier notice in the Rajya Sabha seeking Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement regarding the security breach incident on December 13. He lamented the Chair’s tolerance of the Home Minister and the government’s reluctance to address the issue on the House floor.

“I recognise it is well within your powers as Chairman to decide on these notices. However, it was regrettable that the Chair condoned the attitude of the Home Minister and the government who did not wish to make a statement on the floor of the House,” Congress President said.

The December 13 security breach, where individuals jumped into the Lok Sabha Chamber from the visitors’ gallery, triggered chaos during subsequent proceedings. Opposition leaders demanded a statement from Amit Shah, leading to the suspension of 146 MPs—100 from Lok Sabha and 46 from Rajya Sabha—and the premature adjournment of the session.

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