Parliamentary proceedings | Congress calls for introspection in discussion on Ram Mandir in Parliament

‘The people from the marginalised classes are witnessing the injustice happening with them everywhere,’ Congress MP from Kaliabor in Assam Gaurav Gogoi said

February 10, 2024 04:10 pm | Updated 09:33 pm IST - New Delhi

 Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Budget session of Parliament, in New Delhi, on February 10, 2024.

Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Budget session of Parliament, in New Delhi, on February 10, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

Leading the Opposition’s charge in the Parliament during the discussion on the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, the Congress on Saturday said that although Lord Ram had led an army of the backward and downtrodden, it needed to be introspected whether they, who had been historically excluded, were happy today.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) did not participate in the discussion, and staged walk-outs in both Houses after an adjournment motion initiated by it to discuss the arrest of 88 fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy was rejected.

Parliament Budget Session Updates February 10, 2024

"He is in every part of us every moment," Mr. Gogoi said.“We are seeing a steady rise in the crimes against Scheduled Castes in India. There was a 50% increase in reported crimes from 2022 to 2023. There is a growing demand for a caste census to take place. The people from the marginalised classes are witnessing the injustice happening with them everywhere. They are being discriminated against in educational institutions,” Congress MP from Kaliabor in Assam Gaurav Gogoi said, participating in a discussion on the construction and consecration of the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya on the last day of the 17th Lok Sabha.

He added that “Ma Sita’s” patience and power is revered by everyone. “However, is this the experience of Unnao’s daughter [a reference to the case involving the gangrape of a Dalit minor], when she was powerless and alone? Was this the experience of women wrestlers who were fighting for their rights and dignity [a reference to their protest against sexual harassment]?” he asked.

Mr. Gogoi said that, out of desperation, youth were falling prey to drugs and crime. They were being discriminated against everywhere, he said. “Hence, they are resorting to leaving the country in search of opportunities and dignity,” he added.

He said it was Mahatma Gandhi who had given India the end goal of ‘Ram Rajya’ and that the Congress walked on this path. “We accept the verdict given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the Ram Janmabhoomi case,” he said, adding, “But would like to caution the ruling government to abandon the path of Nathuram [Godse, Gandhi’s assassin].”  

“Ram is in our minds and hearts,” Mr. Gogoi said. “Jai Shri Ram should be uttered with faith and love. Yet, every time the members of the ruling government say it, it’s full of hate.”

Intervening in the debate on the same subject in Rajya Sabha, Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala said hatred was being spread in the name of Ram, who is a symbol for love and affection. “Ram is a symbol of peace. Then why does the ruling party thrive on violence and division?” he asked.

Participating in the discussion in the Lok Sabha, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi questioned whether the Modi government was only for “Hindutva”, and said that the 17 crore Muslims of India were feeling alienated.

“Is the current government a government for a particular community? Is it a government only for Hindutva?” Mr. Owaisi asked. Even as he asserted that he respected Lord Ram, Mr. Owaisi said he would continue to hate Nathuram Godse.

He said the government, through its actions, was sending a message to Muslims on whether they wanted to save their life or pursue justice.

Shiv Sena (Uddhav) MP Arvind Sawant said that it was Balasaheb Thackeray who had first coined the Hindutva slogan, and it was after this that the BJP had realised its importance. In an indirect attack on the BJP, Mr. Sawant said that there was a need to follow the principles of Lord Ram, and “one should not stab at the back of others for the sake of getting power”.

Amol Ramsing Kolhe of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said that Lord Ram should not be politicised, and politics and religion should always remain at an arm’s length of each other.

The Left parties staged a walk-out from the Rajya Sabha, while the DMK, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) were absent during the short duration debate on the Ram Mandir in the House. 

“Protesting against the discrimination shown to Kerala, we are walking out,” Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) member John Brittas said while participating in the discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the White Paper on the Indian Economy during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) years presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

“We are also not party to communalise the political situation,” he said of the discussion on the Ram Mandir to be held after that on the White Paper.

DMK member Tiruchi Siva alleged that no heed had been paid to Tamil Nadu’s need for funds provide flood relief to people in Chennai. He announced he was walking out of the House but his microphone was switched off before he could complete his sentence.

The TMC too staged a walk-out, rejecting the White Paper and calling it an attempt to “cheat and fool the people of India”. TMC members did not return for the debate on the Ram Mandir.

“Today, the Modi Govt is diminishing and mocking Parliament AGAIN with this shocking item: In a hastily “revised” List of Business for today which was issued late last night, Modi Govt has announced a discussion today in Rajya Sabha on “Historic Ram Mandir & Pran Pratishtha” — is this a topic of Parliamentary Discussion? What exactly is there in this to “discuss”? Parliament is now being used as an election platform by an increasingly desperate BJP & Modi,” TMC MP Saket Gokhale said in a post on social media platform X on Saturday morning.  

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