Govt disregarding parliamentary convention that is striking at root of democracy: Cong

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New Delhi, Mar 10 (PTI) The Congress on Wednesday accused the government of disregarding parliamentary convention by not allowing the opposition to raise issues and said violation of the practice is striking at the root of democracy.

It alleged that the opposition's voice was being 'throttled' in Parliament and the government was not cooperating but instead throwing the constitutional rules and procedures in 'tatters'.

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is also the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of indulging in 'self promotion' and said 'there was a limit to getting oneself photographed'.

'We are told to abide by the Constitution but they are throwing the Constitution to the tatters. We are following constitutional means to seek discussions but they are not allowing us to discuss,' he told a press conference.

Alleging that their voice was being 'throttled', he said, the Congress members tried to speak in Parliament for two days, but the government did not cooperate.

His colleague and deputy leader of the Congress in Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma, said the government has a 'duty to answer and we have a right to ask questions'.

He said they were not allowed to raise issues concerning the public in the first half of the budget session.

'Parliamentary convention is being disregarded and we are not being allowed to raise even one issue of public importance,' he alleged.

'The government is guilty of monumental mismanagement of the economy. It is not allowing normal functioning of Parliament. The Opposition is being denied the right to raise issues concerning the people of India,' he further alleged.

Sharma said be it Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha, the opposition must be given space and voice.

'Violation of this practice is striking at the root of democracy which will be opposed by us,' he said.

'Some days are left for the budget session. The government must change its attitude and the country must hear their elected representatives and allow opposition parties to raise issues so that people can be reassured that their issues are being raised at the right forum,' he said.

Attacking the prime minister, Kharge said Modi thinks what he speaks is the truth, but the fact is whatever he did has undermined the financial state of the country, whether by fuel price hikes, whether demonetisation or the lockdown.

'Modi ji has a style. When the LPG cylinder scheme came, photos were around everywhere. The vaccine certificate also has his photo.

'There is a limit to everything, where to get pictured and when. But all the time if people indulge in self promotion, will democracy stay alive in India,' he asked.

Congress leader Deepender Hooda said matters of urgent national importance are taken up under Rule 267.

'Government has not said one word of sympathy for the protesting farmers who died during the agitation. No condolence should be shown to them,' he said referring to around 300 farmers who died.

Hooda alleged that the government first dubbed farmers as terrorists, then no condolences were given, their demands were trashed and today even the demand for a discussion was not taken up.

Kharge alleged that the prime minister has pushed the poor to further poverty, while the rich are becoming richer and corporates are happy because government policies are helping them.

He said the prices of petrol and diesel are rising constantly and the centre is not making any attempts to reduce the costs, but is imposing Excise duties on them.

'We have never had such high costs of petrol and diesel. Even kerosene costs are sky high. Our fight in Parliament was about this. We tried our very best to use rule 267 to discuss the matter in detail but the government was not ready,' he said.

Accusing the government of earning Rs 21 lakh crore in the last six years, he said, 'We wanted to ask where this money has been used and towards which welfare ends.' Sharma said Parliament runs on rules and the country on the Constitution, and discussions were sought under rules on 'profiteering by government' and rising prices of petrol and diesel.

He said the farmers issue is also a burning issue as hundreds of farmers have died, even as he recalled how the opposition was not allowed division of votes when the bills were passed last year. PTI SKC ZMN