NEW DELHI — Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday began his speech on the first day of the special session with a poem and advised the government that “if it cannot do anything then leave the chair”, and also took a jibe, saying that the Centre was trying to scare a strong opposition with the ED to weaken it.
Kharge, who is also the Congress president, in his opening note in the Rajya Sabha said, “If you want to change then change the situation now. What happens by changing names like this? If you want to give employment to the youth what happens by making everyone unemployed? Try expanding your heart a little, what happens when you kill people? If you can’t do anything, leave your chair. What happens if you scare each other? You are proud of your rule, what happens by bullying people?”
Chairman Dhankhar responded with the number of disruptions that took place in the Rajya Sabha during different sessions and objected to the Opposition’s ‘disrespecting’ the decision of the Chair.
With his poem, Kharge indirectly took a jibe at the government accusing it of focusing on weakening the “strong” Opposition through central agencies like CBI and ED.
He said that first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru believed in strong opposition. Nehru had even said that if there is no strong opposition then there is a serious flaw in the system.
“Now when there is a strong opposition then they want to make it weak with the ED and the CBI and then put them in their washing machine to clean it,” Kharge said.
Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kharge said that now the Prime Minister comes and goes. “Today, Manipur is burning and till date the people are being killed, violence is happening. And when so many things are happening then also he hardly issues any statement.
“He goes to several parts of the country, but why is he not going to Manipur,” Kharge said.
To this Dhankhar said that “when he went to your constituency you have a problem”, then Kharge replied that “I have no problem if he is going to work there”.
Kharge also said that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee gave statements 21 times, Manmohan Singh gave statements 30 times during their tenure.
“However apart from a few ‘customary comments’, PM Modi gave his statement only twice,” Kharge said.
The LoP also recalled the works of the Congress government and said, “What we got is the biggest thing. The voting power before 1935 was given to those who used to pay tax, were with the educated and those who had lands. But the Constitution formed by Jawaharlal Nehru, BR Ambedkar and Vallabhbhai Patel in the Constituent Assembly gave the right for franchise to each and every people whether poor or rich,” Kharge said.
Taking a swipe at the BJP for calling the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc as INDI Alliance, Kharge said, “To shorten the word (BJP President JP) Nadda sahib says INDI Alliance, whatever you call we are INDIA.”
He then also hailed the role of the Congress leaders for laying the foundation of the country and said that “our leaders gave a Constitution that has kept up the aspirations of the people”.
He also said that when India got freedom many countries believed that it would not succeed as a nation and will fail. “Many foreign people had thought that India will fail as a nation because most of the people are illiterate. And (US President Winston) Churchill said that as the Britishers have left now the judiciary, health services, railways and the development would stop in India. How will they continue with democracy? But we proved them wrong,” he said.
“We showed them how we strengthened and developed as a nation, we saved democracy and the Constitution. But yet people ask ‘70 saal me kya kia’ (what have you done in the last 70 years)? We did only this, we saved democracy, we saved the Constitution and took the country forward,” Kharge said in an apparent swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP.
Hailing the role of non-violence movement of Mahatma Gandhi, the Congress leader said that we got freedom not on the power of guns but due to the non violence movement of Gandhiji. We still follow the same path.
“In this building in the last 75 years, the face of the country has changed and many decisions were taken for the people including the abolition of the Zamindari system. And he also focused on how we need to work with pace to develop,” he said.
He said that in the first Cabinet, Nehru used to take everyone along and he even included five opposition leaders in his cabinet.
“But now you do not want to see our shadow,” he said, taking a potshot at the BJP.
Nehru stayed in jail for 14 years, he laid the foundation for many industries and many public sectors. And in five years we moved forward. And Nehru used to listen to the opposition with patience, whereas the Prime Minister now does not come to Parliament,” he said, adding that if he comes then it will be a relief for (Piyush) Goyal. — IANS
Photo: Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge speaks in the House during a special session of Parliament, in New Delhi, on Monday. — IANS