Press Trust of india

Oppn suspends dharna for day, condemns govt for not allowing them to pay tribute to Gen Rawat in RS

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New Delhi: Opposition parties on Thursday suspended for a day their dharna at Mahatma Gandhi statue inside Parliament complex against the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs in view of the death of Chief of Defence staff Gen Bipin Rawat and 12 others in a chopper crash.

Leaders of the parties, however, condemned the government for not allowing them to pay tribute to the top-most defence officer in the country inside Parliament after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefed both the Houses about the Wednesday incident.

The Trinamool Congress also staged a walkout in the Rajya Sabha in protest as its MPs were not allowed to speak and pay tribute to Gen Rawat in the House.

A number of Opposition MPs in the Rajya Sabha had boycotted the House proceedings and were sitting on a dharna in front of the Gandhi statue inside the Parliament complex in support of the suspended members.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said they wanted to convey their condolences over the tragic incident but were not allowed to do so in the Upper House, for which they condemned the government’s attitude.

“We decided to suspend our protest in front of the Gandhi statue for a day in view of the tragic incident in Tamil Nadu and in honour of Gen Bipin Rawat and his wife and 11 other soldiers who lost their lives,” he told reporters.

Congress chief whip in Rajya Sabha Jairam Ramesh said, “Out of their profound respect and anguish at the sudden death of Gen Rawat, his wife and his colleagues from the armed forces, Opposition parties suspended for today their protests against the unconstitutuonal and illegal suspension of the 12 Opposition Rajya Sabha MPs.”

Kharge later said the opposition leaders had demanded that they be allowed to pay tribute to Gen Rawat after the defence minister’s statement, but it is unfortunate that they were refused.

“We condemn the government for such an attitude. May God grant some wisdom to the government. What kind of democracy is there and how the House is being run when time is not being given to leaders to pay tribute to the top-most defence officer,” he said.

Kharge also prayed for the speedy recovery of the lone survivor of the crash that took place near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu.

DMK leader T K Elangovan said this government thinks that the House is being run for them and not for opposition parties.

“This government thinks Parliament is only for their use and not for opposition parties. This is a sad thing,” he said.

RJD’s Manoj Jha said the opposition leaders decided not to sit on the dharna and wanted to convey their condolences. He said the government could have utilised this opportunity to convey a collective message on such an unfortunate incident.

“I feel the government has committed a big mistake… It is working with ‘my way or highway’ attitude. Please do not see politics on such occasions,” he said.

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