Rajya Sabha Chairman Expunges Congress Chief’s Remarks On PM Poll Speeches, RSS

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday for his poll speeches and also levelled allegations against the ruling BJP’s ideological parent RSS but most of his remarks were expunged by Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar.

Mr Dhankhar also defended the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), calling it an organisation engaged in working for the nation.

During his speech in the Upper House of Parliament on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, Congress chief Kharge mentioned comments made by PM Modi in his election rallies and presented statistics showing the number of times the prime minister referred to minorities and Pakistan.

The Rajya Sabha chairman asked him to authenticate his assertions and refused to accept newspaper clippings that the Congress leader showed to buttress his points.

Mr Kharge was backed by his party colleague and former finance minister P Chidambaram, who asked how an opposition MP could authenticate what the prime minister has said other than by citing news reports.

The Chair, however, did not accept the arguments and expunged the remarks made by Mr Kharge from the records.

Mr Kharge insisted that he was only seeking to highlight the divisive nature of the speeches delivered by the prime minister. He also said no other prime minister before PM Modi had ever made such comments.

In his nearly 90-minute speech, which also saw several disruptions by the treasury benches and intervention by the Chair, Mr Kharge repeatedly referred to the RSS and personalities associated with it.

Talking about the education system in the country, Mr Kharge made certain allegations regarding the RSS.

Mr Dhankhar said the comments stood expunged as it was not fair to level allegations against the RSS, an organisation engaged in nationalistic activities.

“Is it a crime to be a member of an organisation? You are saying a particular person is a member of the RSS, is that in itself a crime? The RSS is an organisation working for the nation. They have a lot of intelligent people,” Mr Dhankhar added.

Mr Kharge cited a remark by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Manipur but that too was expunged, with Mr Dhankar saying the Congress leader was contradicting himself.

Leader of the House and BJP president J P Nadda too objected to the remarks made by Mr Kharge. He said the Congress leader had no knowledge about the RSS and whatever Kharge was saying about the organisation was regrettable.

“You are bashing an organisation which is working tirelessly for the nation,” Mr Dhankhar said.

The Congress leader also raised the issue of the relocation of statutes of prominent personalities such as Mahatma Gandhi and Chhatrapati Shivaji from the Parliament premises.

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