Parliament paralysed for the sixth day in a row over Rahul, Advani; logjam could end with Rahul's "unambiguous apology": Hardeep Puri
As Parliament remained paralysed for the sixth day in a row due to protests from rival sides, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday said an ''unambiguous apology'' from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his remarks in the UK that democracy in India is ''under attack'' could end the logjam.
Several opposition parties, on their part, accused the government that it does not want Parliament to function and is finding ways to divert attention from their demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe (JPC) into allegations against the Adani Group.
In a repeat of events since the start of the second leg of the Budget session of Parliament on March 13, both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were adjourned without transacting any business due to the protests by the treasury benches against Gandhi for his London remarks and by the opposition over its demand for a JPC probe into the Adani issue.
Gandhi has written to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to allow him to speak in the house over his democracy remarks made in the UK, sources said on Monday.
Gandhi met Birla last week after his return from the United Kingdom.
Sources said that Gandhi wants to speak in the Lok Sabha to clarify his remarks made in the UK, over which the BJP is demanding an apology from him after accusing the Congress leader of insulting the country and its institutions on foreign soil.
''We have asked for a time tomorrow (Tuesday). If allowed, he (Rahul Gandhi) will speak in Parliament. That is what we have been trying for,'' Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said Addressing a press conference, Minister Puri categorically rejected Gandhi's claims on the prevailing situation in India and urged him to clarify if he was ''playing to an agenda".
During his interactions in the UK recently, the former Congress chief alleged that the structures of Indian democracy were ''under attack'' and that there was a ''full-scale assault'' on the country's institutions.
"If any individual goes outside the country, he has the freedom to speak. But along with that freedom comes a sense of responsibility," Puri said.
Puri said India is undoubtedly the world's largest and oldest democracy.
The Housing and Urban Affairs minister demanded that the Gandhi scion unequivocally apologise for his remarks to bring the issue to a closure.
"To begin with, I think, you need closure and the closure will only come if he apologises. And, he should apologise categorically, unequivocally," he demanded.
Asked how the logjam in Parliament would end, Puri said, "This is absolutely a call that he (Gandhi) has to make." "He should apologise unambiguously and say that he made a mistake... My understanding is that it will pave the way and facilitate the functioning of Parliament.'' The BJP leader also noted that freedom of speech, civil liberties, free press and an independent judiciary are part of the basic structure of democracy in India.
''Which of these (four) components, which make up the Indian democracy, are saying they are under attack?'' he asked.
Leaders of opposition parties, including those from the Congress, DMK, RJD, CPI-M, CPI, NCP, JDU, AAP, and Shiv Sena, met in the chamber of Kharge, who is also the Leader of Opposition, in Parliament House complex in the morning and coordinated their strategy on the demand for a JPC probe into the Adani issue.
''Why is the government shying away from JPC...The BJP is running away from JPC and is finding ways to divert attention and is not allowing Parliament to function,'' Congress deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Pramod Tiwari alleged.
''We have pledged that till the time JPC is not constituted, we will not budge and continue with our struggle. This is not for leaders, but for the people.'' AICC general secretary Jairam Ramesh tweeted, ''Even before Opposition members could sit down BJP MPs started sloganeering and the Rajya Sabha got adjourned almost instantly around 2 pm itself till tomorrow 11 am.'' ''It is clear that the government does not want Parliament to function,'' he alleged.
Janata Dal (United) president Lalan Singh blamed the BJP for the impasse in Parliament and asserted that the ruling party cannot decide the definition of patriotism and treason they way it deems fit.
''If your leader speaks against the opposition, then it is patriotism, but if Rahul Gandhi says something, it is treason. The BJP cannot decide the definition of patriotism and treason,'' the Lok Sabha MP told reporters.
In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Om Birla asked agitating members to come to his chamber to discuss issues and find a way out.
"You come, sit and discuss. Both the ruling side and opposition come to the chamber and discuss. We will find a solution and run the House. We will discuss your topics and issues also," he said.PTI PK SKU ASG KR RKL SKC GSN GSN GSN
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)