"Prime Minister is entitled to speak on corruption"

news Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 18:18

Stepping up attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress has given notices for breach of privilege against him in both Houses of Parliament over his remarks against Sonia Gandhi in the AgustaWestland issue even as the party members continued their protests.

The government, however, remained defiant, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday asserting the Rajya Sabha that the "Prime Minister is entitled to speak on corruption" both inside and outside the House and he cannot be "gagged".

His statement came after Congress member Shantaram Naik said he has given notice for breach of privilege against Modi and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar over the PM's remarks at an election rally on the AgustaWestland issue.

Naik contended that "lies" had been told outside the House about UPA leaders taking money in the chopper deal.

Jaitley, who is Leader of the House, retorted, "Since when has an election speech by one politician against another outside the House started to be construed as breach of privilege?"

He said that political speech outside by one politician against another is for "publicity" like the Congress members have been doing in front of media the whole of yesterday.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said he had called Naik to make a Zero Hour submission as per the notice he had given and not to raise any other issue like breach of privilege notice.

Congress leader Anand Sharma said the statements made by Modi in the House or outside are as Prime Minister of the country and there cannot be any distinction between them.

"The Prime Minister has contradicted his Defence Minister," he contended.

After Jaitley's response, Kurien disallowed any further comments on the issue and proceeded with the listed business of the day.

In the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Veerappa Moily has given notice for breach of privilege against Modi.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said the notice is under her consideration and she will allow them to speak only after she takes a decision.

When Moily wanted to make a point of order, the Speaker turned it down, saying it is not allowed during the Zero Hour.

Ravneet Singh 'Bittu' of Congress tried to speak about the attack on Gandhi when his turn to speak on some other issue came but the Speaker disallowed him, saying he was not speaking on the topic on which he had submitted his notice.

Dissatisfied Congress members stormed the Well and kept raising slogans, asking the government to stop "politics of allegations" and "murder of democracy" as Gandhi looked on.

The Speaker continued with the proceedings of the Zero Hour amid the protests of Congress members.

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