New Delhi: Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, has written a letter to Rajya Sabha chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu refusing to nominate a member of the Congress to an inquiry committee being set up to investigate into the ruckus that took place in the House during the monsoon session on 11 August.
In his letter, Kharge said he is “unequivocally against constituting the Inquiry Committee and the question of our party proposing the name of a member from our party for nomination to this Committee does not arise.”
Kharge also said the constitution of the committee seems to be “designed” to “intimidate MPs into silence”.
The Rajya Sabha had witnessed violent disruptions on 11 August during the monsoon session, forcing BJP legislators to demand punitive action against opposition MPs. Opposition MPs had disrupted the Upper House proceedings over a host of issues, including demand for an inquiry into the Pegasus snooping controversy and the farm laws. As a result, the monsoon session was adjourned sine die two days ahead of schedule.
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‘Govt undermined sovereignty of Parliament’
According to Kharge, the constitution of an Inquiry Committee “seems to be designed to intimidate MPs into silence.” “It will not only suppress the voices of the peoples’ representatives but will deliberately brush aside all those that are uncomfortable to the Government,” the Leader of the Opposition said in his letter, which was seen by ThePrint.
Referring to what former finance minister Arun Jaitley had said when he was the Leader of the Opposition in 2012, Kharge said, “The Parliament has had a history of similar protests, many initiated by the ruling dispensation when it was in opposition. As you are well aware that many from the current ruling party have in the past posited that expressing dissent in this manner is acceptable in a Parliamentary democracy.”
When he was the Leader of the Opposition, Jaitley had on numerous occasions said that obstructing Parliament is not undemocratic.
Kharge further said that the Congress along with the rest of the Opposition parties was willing and eager to discuss all matters of public importance in the recently concluded monsoon session.
“… we gave multiple notices under the rules of procedure, hoping to have constructive deliberations on the state of India’s economy, farmers’ protest, inflation, rise in prices of petrol and diesel and other essential commodities, unemployment, China’s violation of our territorial integrity, the Pegasus and Rafale scandals…. unfortunately, the government not only brushed aside the Opposition parties’ demand for discussions, but also ramrodded crucial bills and policies which would potentially have grave and adverse effects on India.”
Kharge said that the Modi government also bypassed standing committees.
“…Additionally, senior ministers were largely absent from Parliament while opposition MPs were suspended. In doing so, the government undermined the sovereignty of Parliament.”
Refusing to nominate a member from the Congress to the proposed committee, Kharge told Naidu to instead discuss the matter at the all-party meeting during the winter session. “…In the national interest, I sincerely hope you will take into account my views on this matter,” Kharge wrote.
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