Dhankhar jibe at Jairam evokes Kharge’s retort

Kharge retorted by saying the chairman was trying to bring in the “Varna” (caste) system.
Dhankhar jibe at Jairam evokes Kharge’s retort

NEW DELHI: A war of words between Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar and Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge further intensified on Tuesday when Dhankhar sarcastically suggested that Congress MP Jairam Ramesh should take Kharge’s place in the House to discipline the Congress MPs.

Kharge retorted by saying the chairman was trying to bring in the “Varna” (caste) system. The acrimony started during a discussion on the motion of thanks to the President’s address when Dhankhar asked Pramod Tiwari of the Congress not to state unverified facts.

To this, Ramesh said it would be authenticated. The Chairman advised Ramesh not to interrupt when any member speaks in the House. Annoyed by Ramesh’s disregard for the chair’s suggestion, Dhankhar said, “The senior leadership (Kharge) is here. I think you (Ramesh) should replace (Kharge)... You are so intelligent, so gifted, you should immediately come and take the seat.”

Kharge retorted by saying “do not bring in the Varna system...that is why you are calling Ramesh very intelligent ... and I am dull.” He defended his position by attributing his political stature to Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and the electorate, emphasising his achievements in public service. “The people who have elevated me to this position are sitting here,” Kharge said, glancing towards Sonia Gandhi.

After hearing this, an agitated Dhankhar accused Kharge of “twisting” his remark and said he never meant it. “Never in the history of parliamentary democracy and Rajya Sabha proceedings there has been such a disregard of the chair,” he said.

The exchange comes a day after Kharge and Dhankhar got embroiled in an heated exchange after the Congress president accused “the RSS of infiltrating educational institutions by appointing their members as vice chancellors and professors.”

Despite the acrimony, Tiwari later continued his speech on the motion of thanks to the President’s address to a joint sitting of Parliament. He accused the Narendra Modi government of betraying the people during its 10-year rule.

Ashokrao Shankarrao Chavan of the BJP, participating in the discussion, accused the Congress of spreading misinformation during the Lok Sabha elections about changes to the Constitution if the BJP could come to power with 400 seats.

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