Congress Chief Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday asked Rajya Sabha chairperson, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, why parts of his speech on Prime Minister Narendra Modi were scrubbed from parliament records, a day after similar action against party leader Rahul Gandhi.
“I don’t think there was anything unparliamentary or accusatory against anyone in my speech… But a few words were misconstrued… If you had any doubt, you could have asked in a different way, but you have asked for my words in six places to be expunged,” he said in Rajya Sabha.
“[Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari] Vajpayee sahab had used a word against [Former Prime Minister PV] Narasimha Rao ji and that word is still in the books,” Kharge added.
Dhankhar tried to placate the Congress chief saying, “Chairman is the ultimate defender of the Leader of the Opposition.”
The deletion of Rahul Gandhi’s remarks – which means they cannot be reproduced in any form by the media – has triggered a major controversy, with the opposition accusing the government of censoring its statements in parliament.
“Why were my words expunged?” the Congress MP asked reporters as he headed into parliament during PM Modi’s statement on Wednesday. On his way out, he said the Prime Minister had failed to answer the questions he raised a day ago.
“I asked him simple questions (about his relationship with billionaire Gautam Adani). He did not answer them… it reveals the truth. If they were not friends, he would have agreed to an inquiry. He said nothing about allegations of shell companies in the defence sector,” he said.
The Congress, along with other opposition parties, has mounted a fierce attack on PM Modi’s government over fraud allegations against Mr Adani’s ports-to-energy conglomerate. The group, with significant investment from state-run firms, has lost half its market value in a stock rout.
The Adani Group has called the accusations by US-based short-seller Hindenburg Research a “malicious combination of selective misinformation and stale, baseless and discredited allegations that have been tested and rejected by India’s highest courts”.
With inputs from NDTV