Government silencing people, stifling voice of Opposition: INDIA bloc

Opposition parties stage a dharna at Jantar Mantar against suspension of MPs; Rahul blames Modi government’s policies for Parliament security breach; Kharge says he was not allowed to speak in the House, slams Rajya Sabha Chairman Dhankhar

Updated - December 22, 2023 11:41 pm IST

Published - December 22, 2023 02:51 pm IST - New Delhi

Leaders of INDIA bloc are seen in New Delhi on December 22, 2023 during a protest against the suspension of Opposition MPs.

Leaders of INDIA bloc are seen in New Delhi on December 22, 2023 during a protest against the suspension of Opposition MPs. | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The INDIA bloc parties on December 22 staged a dharna at Jantar Mantar here protesting the suspension of 146 MPs and attacked the Narendra Modi government for stifling the voice of the Opposition.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that by suspending these parliamentarians, the government had shut the voice of 60% Indians. “Every MP carries lakhs of votes. You have not only suspended the MPs but have also silenced crores of people who had voted for the representatives who are now suspended,” Mr. Gandhi said.

Reiterating his earlier claim, the Congress leader blamed the Modi government’s policies for the Parliament security breach. “The government has not given employment to youth. This is why they jumped and entered the Parliament,” he added. Mr. Gandhi said the Opposition under the INDIA bloc would fight the hate the BJP was spreading.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge once again took a potshot at Rajya sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar saying that a person sitting in a constitutional post must not talk on caste lines. Mr. Kharge asked, “I was not allowed to speak in the House. Should I say that the BJP government is not allowing a Dalit to speak. The Constitution allows all of us to speak,” Mr. Kharge said.

Also read: List of MPs suspended so far in Parliament’s Winter Session 

‘Answerable to Parliament’

Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the government was answerable to Parliament. “Our Constitution gives sovereignty to the people of India, which is implemented through our representatives. The government is answerable to Parliament and MPs are answerable to the people. This is the summary of our democracy,” he said.

Communist Party of India general secretary D. Raja said the government was trying to make Parliament redundant. “If you eliminate opposition by hook or by crook, you are making Parliament redundant. If Parliament becomes redundant, democracy dies,” he said.

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Manoj Jha called it a fight to save democracy. “When the Prime Minister goes to foreign countries, he says he comes from the mother of democracy. How are you going to say it now, after suspending 146 MPs,” he said.

DMK Rajya Sabha floor leader Tiruchi Siva accused the government of dismantling the federal structure of the Constitution. “On one end, they stifle our voices and on the other the Governors appointed by the BJP obstruct the functioning of the elected State governments,” he said.

CPI(ML) leader Dipankar Bhattacharya accused the BJP of insulting Parliament. “They want Parliament to be Opposition-free, the roads to be protest-free, and want to leave no scope for disagreement.... They are trying to end democracy and bring in permanent autocracy,” he said.

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