Govt has made Parliament a ‘rubber stamp’: Mallikarjun Kharge


PTI, Feb 22, 2023, 7:59 PM IST

New Delhi: Citing the expunction of remarks and suspension of an MP, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday alleged that the government has made Parliament a ”rubber stamp” with members not allowed to raise voice of the people and demand a JPC probe into the Adani-Hindeburg issue.

He said everyone will work jointly and definitely, and the Congress together with friendly parties, will form the government in 2024.

Addressing the Indian National Trade Union Congress plenary session, Kharge also urged people to save democracy and Constitution, saying if this was not done then ”dictatorship will come and finish everyone”.

The Congress chief raised the Adani issue, accusing the government of working for the welfare of crony capitalists.

”Government has made Parliament a rubber stamp. When we want to put forward our views, we are not allowed to do so. Our people got notices, one woman MP was suspended, why? They were raising the voice of the people and against Adani,” he said.

He claimed that Adani’s wealth grew from Rs 3,000 crore in 2004 to eventually Rs 12 lakh crore.

”What magic is there, we will also tell workers that (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi has a pill, after having it you can make Rs 12 lakh crore. This is what we raised, Rahul Gandhi raised, Digvijaya Singh ji raised in Parliament, but our remarks were expunged,” Kharge said.

The first part of the Budget session was marked by frequent disruptions over the demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on US-based short seller Hindenburg Research’s allegations of irregularities against the Adani group, which has denied the charges.

The issue dominated the proceedings in Parliament as the Opposition unitedly demanded that a JPC be set up to probe the crash of stock prices of Adani group companies leading to huge loss of capital including to some PSUs like SBI and LIC.

The treasury benches and the Opposition traded barbs inside and outside Parliament after Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar suspended Congress’ Rajani Patil for the remaining part of the budget session for circulating an unauthorised video of House proceedings, and expunction of remarks of Opposition leaders.

Dhankhar has also asked a parliamentary committee to investigate the alleged breach of privilege by 12 MPs from the Congress and the AAP for repeatedly entering the well of the House, shouting slogans and obstructing its proceedings.

Kharge said the Opposition leaders’ remarks raising questions about Adani were expunged, as he urged the INTUC to create a movement as the parties continue to demand JPC.

In his remarks, Kharge alleged that the agenda of the BJP and the RSS was always dominated by big industrialists and workers were never part of it. ”When workers’ movement gained strength then to protect the interests of owners, they created a counter organisation to INTUC to oppose the workers and protect the interests of owners,” he said.

Hailing India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s contribution, the Congress chief asked who build key assets such as HMT, BHEL, steel plants, IITs, IIM, AIIMs and ISRO.

”We were not fakes, we have build the country, lakhs of people work in these organisations,” he said.

He pointed out that important legislations Industrial Disputes Act, Minimum Wages Act, Employees’ Provident Funds Act and Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act were brought during Congress rule.

”How many acts were brought in by Modi-(Amit) Shah. Instead of getting welfare measures, they converted it into a code of four laws,” he said.

”After 2014, the Modi government harmed workers’ rights. Labour laws were weakened to benefit crony capitalists and left workers open to exploitation,” he alleged.

Despite strong objections from the Opposition, the labour codes were passed, he said.

”Why is no voice being raised against this. When we (during our rule) made small mistakes, there used to be demonstrations by RSS-linked trade unions. Where are they now,” he said.

Kharge also slammed the Modi government for ”mocking” MGNREGA, asserting that the UPA-era legislation saved the people during the Covid pandemic.

”This is our contribution to save people. There (the BJP’s) contribution is to finish of people. Why are you stopping the public sector. In this country, 247 PSUs are there and 188 under profit and only a few in losses,” he said, alleging that the government was shutting them down to benefit its ”crony capitalist friends”.

Kharge also slammed the government over unemployment and asked why 30 lakh ”vacancies” were not being filled up.

”It is your government’s job to give everyone employment and provide welfare to people. Where are the 2 crore jobs per year. There are 30 lakh vacancies and instead of filling them up, PM Modi is giving appointment orders which an under secretary can also do,” Kharge said.

”Whatever Modi ji and Shah ji say are jumlas. Don’t believe in people who throw jumlas, believe in people who work,” the Congress president said.

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