Rahul Gandhi writes to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on ‘selective expunction’ by the Chair, demands his speech be restored to the records

Responding to questions on portions of his speech being deleted by the Chair, Mr. Gandhi said that truth cannot be expunged in reality but only in PM Modi’s world

Updated - July 02, 2024 07:27 pm IST

Published - July 02, 2024 12:02 pm IST

Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi speaks in the House during the ongoing Parliament session, in New Delhi.

Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi speaks in the House during the ongoing Parliament session, in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: ANI

Hours after Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla removed portions of Rahul Gandhi’s maiden speech as the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Mr. Gandhi wrote to the Speaker to argue that the latter’s actions went “against the very tenets of parliamentary democracy”.

Mr. Gandhi demanded his remarks be restored as part of the Lok Sabha’s records. In his letter to Mr. Birla, the Congress leader pointed out that BJP MP Anurag Thakur’s speech was full of allegations but only one word was expunged from it.

Leader of the Opposition Rahul Gandhi writes to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla in the context of portions expunged from his Lok Sabha speech on July 1, 2024.

Leader of the Opposition Rahul Gandhi writes to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla in the context of portions expunged from his Lok Sabha speech on July 1, 2024.

“With due respect to your good self, this selective expunction defies logic. I request that the remarks expunged from the proceedings be restored,” Mr. Gandhi said.

Also Read: Parliament session updates

On Monday, in his maiden speech as the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Gandhi made a scathing attack against the BJP, questioning its Hindu credentials, and accused the party of diving people. The Speaker removed 13 parts of Mr. Gandhi’s speech from the official records of the Lok Sabha.

Mr. Gandhi argued that while the Chair derived its power to expunge certain remarks from the proceedings of the House, the stipulation pertains only to such words as the nature of which have been specified in Rule 380 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha.

“I am, however, shocked to note the manner in which considerable portions of my speech have been simply taken off from the proceedings under the garb of expunction,” the Opposition leader said.

“I am constrained to state that the portions expunged do not come under the ambit of Rule 380. What I sought to convey in the House is the ground reality and the factual position. Every member of the House who personifies the collective voice of people whom he or she represents has the freedom of speech as enshrined in Article 105(1) of the Constitution of India,” Mr. Gandhi said, adding that every member has the right to raise people’s concerns on the floor of the House.

“It is that right and in exercise of my obligations to the people of the country, that I was exercising yesterday,” he said.

Watch: Truth can only be expunged in Modi’s world: Rahul Gandhi
| Video Credit: PTI

Speaking with reporters outside Parliament House, Mr. Gandhi targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “In Modi-ji’s world, the truth can be expunged, but in reality, the truth cannot be expunged. Whatever I had to say, I have said and that is the truth. They can expunge as much as they want, but the truth will prevail,” he said.

While parties of the Indian National Developmental, Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc rallied behind Mr. Gandhi, the BJP’s first-time MP Bansuri Swaraj gave a notice in the Lok Sabha, alleging inaccuracies in Mr. Gandhi’s speech.

The BJP on Monday had charged Mr. Gandhi of misleading the House on the Agniveer scheme, and on the compensation paid to locals in Ayodhya.

Under Direction 115 by the Speaker, a member wishing to point out any mistake or inaccuracy in a statement made by a Minister or any other member can, before referring to the matter in the House, write to the Speaker, pointing out the particulars of the mistake or the inaccuracy, and seek permission to raise the issue.

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