The deadlock continued on Tuesday, the seventh day of the second phase of the budget session of Parliament. Congress MPs allege that they are not being allowed to speak in the House. BJP MPs are demanding an apology from Rahul Gandhi for his statement about Indian democracy in Britain. Congress and other opposition parties talk about formation of JPC on Adani issue. On the issue of apologizing, Rahul Gandhi said, let him speak in the House. The ministers of the central government have made serious allegations against him. Rahul has now found that cut, under which he can get a chance to speak. For this, he has taken the support of former BJP minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
In his letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Rahul cited Rule 357 and said that he should be allowed to speak in the House. Giving the example of Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rahul said that he had cited this rule in 2015 as a minister to answer the remarks made by Jyotiraditya Scindia in Parliament. He was also allowed to speak.
Rahul Gandhi has said in his letter that the allegations being leveled against me by the people of the ruling party are completely wrong. Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi has urged Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to give him the right to reply in the House. Senior ministers of the central government have leveled baseless and unwarranted allegations against him. Rahul has cited Rule 357 in his letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Birla. In this letter, he has presented the example of former Union Minister of Bharatiya Janata Party and current MP Ravi Shankar Prasad. How Prasad had cited this rule to answer the remarks made by Jyotiraditya Scindia in Parliament while he was a minister. Rahul Gandhi said, I am making the same request to you again. I seek your permission under Rule 357, the practice of Parliament, natural justice enshrined in the Constitution. He should be allowed to reply, as per rules. Rahul Gandhi wrote this letter to Om Birla on 18 March.
Ravi Shankar Prasad had said this at that time
The then Communications and Information Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said this while addressing the Lok Sabha Speaker in the House. He said, Mr. Speaker, you have given me an opportunity to make personal explanation under the rules. I am grateful for that. On February 24, 2015, the respected member of this house, Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia told about me during the Zero Hour that I have requested for debate in the Preamble of the Constitution and this comment of mine is condemnable. This whole thing is on record. As Ravi Shankar Prasad, I would like to clarify in this context that I never made this statement. On January 28, after the cabinet meeting, I was holding a press briefing. At that time I was asked a question about I&B’s advertisement. I said, the Congress party should debate whether Jawaharlal Nehru, the senior leader of the country whom we all respect, was secular or not. When the constitution was made in 1950, people like Maulana Azad, Sardar Patel, Bhimrao Ambedkar etc did not keep the word secular and socialist. There should be a debate on this. All the newspapers printed our point correctly, but one newspaper ‘English Dainik’ said in its headlines that we have talked about debate on Preamble.
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Calling my comment blasphemous, unfortunate…
Ravi Shankar Prasad said, they published my complete clarification on 30th. After that, on the 2nd, the same newspaper wrote an editorial. This context of mine was fully mentioned in it. I was criticized. After that the newspaper published my complete rejoinder in detail. On 29th I told many TV channels that I never said this and neither is the intention of the government. Yes, Congress party has to ask the question whether Nehru ji was secular or not. This did not happen in the year 1950. Scindia sahib, who is also my friend, about the things I never said. I respect him. They do homework. They would ask me over the phone and call my remarks in the House derogatory by taking my name, this is very unfortunate. That’s why I want to set the whole record straight. If you say, I will authenticate my entire statement and put it on the table of the House. I would not say that he should be sorry or ashamed, but I would expect that if the record is so straight, he would at least take back the remarks made against me on the House. I do expect this from them.