National

Congress stages walkout in Lok Sabha

Speaker disallows Manish Tewary’s reference to PMO on electoral bonds issue.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on November 21 led a walkout from the Lok Sabha after Speaker Om Birla didn’t allow party MP Manish Tewari to make a reference to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) while he was speaking on electoral bonds.

Raising the issue of electoral bonds during Zero Hour, Mr. Tewari accused the Union government of making “government corruption official” by introducing anonymous electoral bonds and doing away with earlier regulations.

However, when he made a reference to the role of the Prime Minister’s Office in changing the rules of the scheme, Mr. Birla turned off the microphone and asked another member to raise his issue.

Ms. Gandhi then got up from her seat and led a walkout from the House to protest the Speaker’s decision.

Before the walkout, Mr. Tewari had pointed out how the government went ahead with the scheme despite reservations expressed by the Reserve Bank of India and the Election Commission about electoral bonds.

“This made government corruption official,” Mr. Tewari said, leading to loud protests from the Treasury benches.

The parrty also protested the proposals to privatise public sector units including the announcement about disinvestment in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL).

Soon after the Lok Sabha proceedings got under way at 11 a.m., Congress members started their protests and trooped into the Well of the House.

“This is a big scam. The country is being looted. Please allow us to speak,” Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, while raising the issue of electoral bonds and disinvestment.

Congress MPs returned to their seats after Mr. Birla assured them of allowing them to speak during Zero Hour.

“This is wrong... It is the responsibility of every member to maintain decorum and dignity of the House,” Mr. Birla said.

Mr Chowdhury said the Opposition cooperates in smooth functioning of the House and they should get a chance to raise the issues.

“We are forced to give the adjournment motions to raise very important issues, not to disrespect the chair. We have given the notice because this is a big scam. The country is being looted," he said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi then got up and asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is running the cleanest government and there is no scope of corruption in its functioning.

"You come everyday with an adjournment motion bringing some issues. This is not done," Joshi said.

When Mr Chowdhury reminded the BJP about the disruptions over the alleged coal scam or 2G scam, Mr Joshi said, “Those issues were raised in the House because the cases were either before the Supreme Court or the Comptroller and Auditor General of India”.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2020 2:17:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-stages-walkout-in-lok-sabha/article30041253.ece

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