‘Distressing when history will judge the presiding officers harshly for bills’

In a two-page letter, Kharge said that he agrees with the House chairman’s call to all members to rise above their differences. “I agree with you that we need to move ahead.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge (Photo | PTI)
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge (Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: Responding to an invitation by Rajya Sabha chairperson Jagdeep Dhankar for a meeting at his residence on Monday, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge wrote to the former expressing his inability to meet him as he is currently away from Delhi and suggested a meeting after he returns.

Both have been exchanging letters regarding disruptions in Parliament and the suspension of 146 opposition MPs. In a two-page letter, Kharge said that he agrees with the House chairman’s call to all members to rise above their differences. “I agree with you that we need to move ahead.

The answer lies in holding ours true to the Constitution, Parliament and innate belief in democracy vis-a-vis an authoritarian government that is bent upon subverting the Parliament. I would like to state with all humility that the answer may not lie in a discussion in your chambers if the government is not keen on running the house.”

He added, “The Chairman is the custodian of the house and should be at the forefront to uphold the dignity of the House, defend Parliamentary privileges, and protect people’s right of holding its government accountable through the debates, discussion and reply in Parliament.”

He said that the Chairman’s letter ‘unfortunately justifies the autocratic and arrogant attitude of the government towards Parliament and the ruling party has ‘weaponized’ the suspension of MPs as a tool to ‘undermine democracy, sabotage Parliamentary practices and throttle the Constitution.’

In a letter to Kharge dated December 23, Dhankhar said that the disruptions during the winter session of Parliament which led to the suspension of 146 MPs were ‘deliberate and strategized’. Dhankhar said that he had to ‘painfully’ suffer in the Upper House the consequences of the Congress leader’s decision to turn down the former’s offer of interaction in his chamber. 

In his reply, Kharge said that by suspending MPs, the government is silencing the voice of the voters. “It would be distressing when history judges the presiding officers harshly for bills passed without debate and not seeking accountability from government,” he said. 

“You have also mentioned that the disorder was predetermined. If anything, it is the mass suspension of the MPs that seems to be predetermined. I am sorry to say, executed without any application of mind, as can be seen by the suspension of an INDIA party MP who was not even present in the Parliament,” he said.

Letter justifies autocratic attitude of govt: Kharge
Kharge said that the Chairman’s letter ‘unfortunately justifies the autocratic and arrogant attitude of the government towards Parliament and the ruling party has ‘weaponized’ the suspension of MPs as a tool to ‘undermine democracy, sabotage Parliamentary practices and throttle the Constitution.’
 

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