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As Opp Gears up to Corner Govt on Adani Issue, Both Houses Adjourned on Rahul Remark Issue

Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil files breach of privilege notice against Piyush Goyal for allegedly violating Rajya Sabha rules and established procedures by making allegations against a Lok Sabha member.
 Proceedings of Lok Sabha underway during Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Tuesday, March 14, 2023.

Proceedings of Lok Sabha underway during Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Tuesday, March 14, 2023. Image Courtesy: PTI

New Delhi: Even as the 16 Opposition parties geared up to take on the government on the Adani issue in Parliament, proceedings in the Lok Sabha were adjourned till 2 p.m on Tuesday, with the Treasury benches creating an uproar over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's democracy remarks in the United Kingdom.

As the Lok Sabha met for the day, Speaker Om Birla urged members to let the House function and took up the Question Hour.

Asking the Congress members, who were on their feet, to maintain the decorum of the House and not show placards, Birla said they should let the House function.

However, Congress members continued their protest following which the Speaker adjourned the House till 2 pm.

Gandhi had recently alleged in London that the structures of Indian democracy are under brutal attack and there is a full-scale assault on the institutions of the country.

Demanding an apology from Gandhi for his remarks, the ruling BJP charged that the Congress leader has tried to defame India.

Lok Sabha proceedings were disrupted on Monday as well as the BJP-Congress slugfest escalated over Gandhi's remark with the government seeking an apology while the Opposition benches demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Adani-Hindenburg issue.

The Rajya Sabha was also adjourned till 2 pm after Opposition members caused uproar over the government's demand for an apology from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his democracy remarks.

Leader of the House and Union Minister Piyush Goyal, without naming Gandhi, alleged that he had insulted Parliament and constitutional institutions and said he should tender an apology.

This resulted in protests by Opposition members, led by the Congress, who raised slogans against the government.

"Yesterday (Monday), we had raised a very important issue and the manner in which India was insulted and its institutions, including the Parliament, were insulted.

"Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha are part of the Parliament, which have been insulted. I feel this is the first time that the entire Parliament was insulted," Goyal told the House amid the uproar by opposition members.

He said "unnecessary and uncalled for" remarks were made by an MP on foreign soil against Parliament, which includes the President of India.

Earlier, Dhankhar rejected notices from several opposition members for discussion on the Adani issue and other matters, including the post-poll violence in Tripura.

Opposition to corner Govt on Adani Issue

In the morning, leaders of 16 Opposition parties on Tuesday met in Parliament complex and decided to step up their demand for a JPC on the Adani issue.

The government's offensive against Rahul Gandhi over his democracy remarks in London also came up for discussion at the meeting held in the chamber of Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge, sources said.

Among the parties which attended the meeting include the Congress, DMK, CPI-M, JDU, RJD, NCP, SP, SS (Uddhav), AAP, CPI, JMM, IUML, MDMK, NC, VCK and Kerala Congress.

Earlier, Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi met senior leaders of the party at the Congress office in Parliament House to discuss the party's strategy in the wake of the government's attack on Rahul Gandhi.

Sources said the Congress strategy group decided to step up the demand for a JPC on the Adani issue.

Several Congress leaders have given adjournment notices in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha for discussing the Adani issue. These include Pramod Tiwari, Naseer Hussain, Amee Yajnik, Kumar Ketkar, Jebi Mather and Neeraj Dangi.

Gohil files breach of privilege notice against Piyush Goyal

Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil on Tuesday filed a breach of privilege notice against Piyush Goyal, Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha, for allegedly violating the rules and established procedures by making allegations against a Lok Sabha member.

In his notice to the Rajya Sabha chairman under Rule 188, Gohil said Goyal violated Rule 238, which clearly states that "no allegation of a defamatory or incriminatory nature shall be made by a member against any other member or a member of the House".

As the Upper House resumed for the afternoon session on Monday after being adjourned earlier, Goyal said he had raised a serious matter in the morning regarding a senior Congress leader going abroad and stating that "democracy is in danger" in India and even sought the US and Europe to interfere in the country's affairs.

In his notice, Gohil said on March 13, Goyal raised the matter regarding some observations made by the "member of the other House…".

The Congress leader argued that it is a time-honoured tradition that reference is not made in one House about a member of the other House.

"It is pertinent to note that Shri Piyush Goyal repeatedly spoke about (an) hon'ble Member of the Lok Sabha and kept on stating facts which were not true. Mr Goyal criticised a Member of the Lok Sabha without truth and was intentionally going on with derogatory remarks," Gohil said in his notice.

The Congress member cited several examples when the chair ruled in the past that no member can raise allegations against a member of the other House.

Gohil argued that there have been cases in the Rajya Sabha when cognizance was also taken of general statements made against a Member of Parliament in their absence.

"No opposition member has ever raised an issue regarding critical remarks made by Hon'ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi on foreign soil," the Congress MP said, citing examples of the prime minister's remarks in Shanghai, South Korea and Canada.

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