Press Trust of india

Oppn walks out of RS; CPI(M) refuses to participate in discussion on Ram temple

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New Delhi: Opposition parties on Saturday walked out of the Rajya Sabha opposing the BJP government’s white paper on the economy, with the CPI(M) also refusing to participate in the discussion on the Ram temple in the House.

The Left party said it will not become “party to communalise the political situation”.

Both Houses of Parliament — the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha — are holding a discussion on “the construction of historic Shri Ram Temple and Pran Pratishtha of Shri Ramlala”.

Members of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) were among those who walked out over the white paper brought by the government in Parliament to compare the state of the economy during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regimes.

Participating in the discussion on the white paper in the Rajya Sabha, CPI(M) member John Brittas said, “Protesting against the discrimination shown to Kerala, we are walking out. “We are also not party to communalise the political situation,” he said on the discussion on the Ram temple, which will be held after that on the white paper.

“This is not a white paper. This is an election paper. Selective amnesia and cherry picking. finance minister (Nirmala Sitharaman) has said 2004-2009 was a good period but she gave the credit to the previous (NDA) government. Strange enough,” the leader of the Left party said.

Is it not a fact that the Left was supporting the first UPA government that made important decisions and changes such as making education a fundamental right, bringing the Right to Information Act, making employment a right through the MGNREGA and ensuring right to food security, Brittas said.

“The other day, the prime minister (Narendra Modi) was praising Dr Manmohan Singh, who he had earlier ridiculed by calling ‘maun’ (silent). The finance minister is slapping a black paper on Manmohan Singh. Tomorrow, this government would be giving a Bharat Ratna to Dr Manmohan Singh and saying that he was denied Bharat Ratna by Sonia Gandhi,” he said.

Brittas said that the finance minister has spoken about “abundance to Kerala”. “There were partial truths to confuse people,” he said.

When he was talking about reduction in devolution of funds for Kerala, Finance Minister Sitharaman intervened and said, “I would like to speak out of turn because you are going away. You won’t be here to listen to my reply.”

“I would like to say now…that many of the things he is saying are sprucing up his speech but words which I have not used. So, I still take this liberty in my reply when the honourable member will not be here. But I am sorry he is taking liberty with my words,” she said.

On this, Brittas said, “She can make a reply and I can go to the record and see. I will see the video.”

DMK member Tiruchi Siva claimed that 700 farmers had died during the agitation against the farm laws that were later withdrawn by the government. Hundreds of people died in front of banks standing in queues to change notes during the demonetisation period, he claimed.

He also brought to the notice of the House the poor state of migrant workers during the Covid lockdown.

Drawing the attention of the Rajya Sabha, Siva alleged that no heed was paid to Tamil Nadu with regards to funds to provide people relief from the floods in Chennai.

He announced he was walking out of the House but his microphone was switched off before he could complete his sentence.

TMC MP Saket Gokhale said, “On behalf of my party, Trinamool Congress, we reject this white paper which not only insults the collective intelligence of Parliament but also seeks to cheat and fool the people of India.”

He said that “As a proud and self-respecting MP… I refuse to further participate in this charade…with the promise the people of India will give a befitting answer to the lies in this white paper and to the Modi government in the upcoming (Lok Sabha) elections. I and my party will now walk out of the House in protest.”

BJD MP Dr Amar Patnaik also participated in the discussion demand more devolution of funds for Odisha.


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