Not allowed to raise issue in RS : Kharge

NEW DELHI, Dec 16: Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge today lodged a strong protest over him not being allowed to speak despite Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar’s ruling that he along with two other very distinguished members could speak anytime in the House.
When the House met for the day, Kharge said he had wanted to speak on the December 9 Chinese aggression in Arunachal Pradesh but Deputy Chairman Harivansh did not allow him to speak on grounds that he had not served any notice.
Opposition MPs, he said, during the last few days have been trying to raise the issue of Chinese aggression in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang sector and he thought it was his responsibility as the Leader of the Opposition to join them on such “a very serious issue connected with national security”.
“On December 14, I intervened but the Deputy Chairman said I cannot raise it as I have not given any notice,” he said.
He went on to refer to the December 9 observations made by the Chairman in the House that he would not look at the rule book if the Leader of the House (LoH), Leader of the Opposition (LoP) or former prime minister Manmohan Singh were to rise and he would allow them to speak.
“In view of this, I took the Chairman’s words as a promise and felt this is a direction for the entire House. And so I decided to intervene but I wasn’t allowed,” he said, asking if what the Chairman had observed was correct or incorrect.
Kharge said the Chairman’s observation was that the Leader of the House, Leader of the Opposition, and former prime minster can put across their point of view at anytime. “If that was so, why wasn’t I allowed to speak,” he asked. “This (Chinese aggression) was an issue associated with the country and its security.”
So, “sir you express regret or you tell me that you have no power,” he told Harivansh who was in the chair.
Responding to him, Harivansh said he had allowed the Leader of the Opposition to read out the notice given under rule 267.
“Hon’ble LoP read out the entire notice, which was not even accepted (by the Chair) for a discussion,” he said, adding he would look at entire records and inform the House.
The Deputy Chairman said he always gives the opportunity to Kharge keeping in mind the feelings that the Chairman had expressed for the positions of LoP, LoH, and former prime minister.
“But it is my request that you (Kharge) should place on record that I had given him an opportunity to mention the notice that was not even accepted,” he added.
Harivansh said he had not allowed clarifications on the statement made by the Defence Minister on the Arunachal incident in view of precedence on such sensitive issues.
“I had quoted from past precedence to state on what occasions a discussion wasn’t taken up on such a sensitive issue,” he said, adding he would give date-wise clarification.
“Whenever you rose, you have been allowed to speak. The chair has given you that respect,” he told Kharge.
According to the Rajya Sabha website’s verbatim debate, Kharge had on December 14 stated that his party had on the previous day as well as on that day given a notice to raise and debate the issue of Chinese aggression.
To this, Harivansh, who was in the chair on that day as well, stated, “Today there is no notice on this.” (PTI)