Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh stated on Saturday that there is no “middle route” to end the parliamentary impasse because the Opposition’s demand for a JPC probe into the Adani problem is “non-negotiable,” and the subject of an apology for Rahul Gandhi’s remarks in the UK does not arise.
In an interview with PTI, Ramesh claimed the government is spooked by 16 Opposition parties getting together to demand a joint parliamentary probe into the Adani issue and is resorting to a “3D organised effort – mislead, slander and divert”.
The former Union minister also slammed BJP MP Nishikant Dubey’s efforts to terminate Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha membership because of his remarks in the UK, calling it “intimidation” and an attempt to divert attention away from the genuine concerns.
The remarks by the Congress national secretary in charge of communications came amid a stalemate in Parliament over Gandhi’s remarks during his recent trip to the United Kingdom, with both houses unable to transact any substantial business on the first five days of the budget session’s second half.
Earlier on Friday, Interior Minister Amit Shah stated the present logjam in Parliament can be overcome if the Opposition comes forward for negotiations and that the government will go “two steps ahead” if the Opposition takes “two steps forward”.
When asked if there is any prospect of finding a middle route to solve the current stalemate in Parliament, Ramesh stated, “I don’t see any middle path because our demand for a JPC is non-negotiable, and the question of an apology does not arise.” “In order to shift attention away from this valid and reasonable demand for a JPC, the BJP is demanding on an apology. An apology for what the present prime leader (Narendra Modi) has utilised forums in China, Germany, South Korea, and other parts of the world to raise domestic political issues and criticise his political opponents. Why should Rahul Gandhi apologise for addressing the status of democracy in our country today?” he asked.
According to Ramesh, there is an “undeclared emergency” in the country.
Pressed about the BJP’s claim that Gandhi sought the intervention of other countries, the Congress leader denied the charge, calling it “total bunkum and rubbish”.
He maintained that whatever Gandhi said in the UK is public record, with recordings and texts available.
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“He (Gandhi) is very clear; he said, ‘India’s problems have to be dealt with internally through the political process; these are internal matters’. But, he also stated that democracy in India is a public good and that “if India is democratic, not just India benefits, but the world benefits as well,” Ramesh remarked.
“This is a canard, an outright untruth that the BJP is propagating,” he added of the BJP’s accusation of foreign meddling.
Whatever words are being ascribed to the former Congress head, Ramesh claims he never said them.
“What the BJP has been doing in the previous few days is that it is twisting Mr Rahul Gandhi’s remarks in order to deflect. This is Mr Modi’s 3D organised strategy: misrepresent, slander, and divert. “Why divert when there is growing evidence every day of the establishment’s complicity, including the PM himself, in this massive Adani scam involving crores and crores of rupees of public institutions such as LIC, SBI, and other financial institutions, and crores and crores of Indians suffering as a result of this cronyism,” Ramesh claimed.
Regarding BJP MP Dubey’s demand that Gandhi be ejected from the Parliament for his remarks in the UK, Ramesh remarked, “This is intimidation. They are welcome to make a motion to the Speaker. Mr Gandhi will respond.”
According to rule 357, Gandhi is entitled to a personal explanation in Parliament, Ramesh said, noting that in 2015, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad was granted a personal explanation in response to some allegations made against him by Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was then a member of the Congress.
“For over 15 minutes yesterday, the mics went off, and it was collective mute,” he claimed.
When it comes to disruption rather than discourse, Ramesh says the opposition has no say because it is not permitted to discuss issues like Adani, China, or economic considerations.
“One of the fundamental rules of parliamentary democracy is that the opposition must have a say while the administration gets its way. We know we don’t have the numbers in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, but we are not even permitted to speak, and now efforts are being made to damage the Opposition’s (image), claiming that the Opposition is to blame for the adjournments,” he said.
Ramesh stated that the Treasury benches, not the Opposition, caused the adjournments.
During his encounters in the UK, Gandhi claimed that the structures of Indian democracy were under attack and that there was a “full-scale assault” on the country’s institutions. He also informed British legislators in London that microphones in the Lok Sabha are frequently “switched off” when an opposition member raises a crucial topic.
Gandhi’s words sparked a political brawl, with the BJP accusing him of maligning India on foreign soil and demanding foreign interference, and the Congress responding by listing instances of Modi raising internal matters overseas.