Mallikarjun Kharge skips Red Fort event, unfurls national flag at Congress office | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Mallikarjun Kharge skips Red Fort event, unfurls national flag at Congress office

ByAman Singh
Aug 15, 2023 01:28 PM IST

Mallikarjun Kharge’s absence from the event prompted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to criticise the 81-year-old politician and the Congress

NEW DELHI: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday skipped the Independence Day function at Red Fort, saying he would have been late to the flag-hoisting function at the party headquarters in central Delhi due to security restrictions if he had gone to Red Fort.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge with party leader KC Venugopal at the 77th Independence Day event at the AICC Headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday (PTI)
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge with party leader KC Venugopal at the 77th Independence Day event at the AICC Headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday (PTI)

Kharge’s absence from the event prompted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to criticise the 81-year-old politician and his party. Union information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur said it reflected the Congress mindset.

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In a 10-minute video clip released on social media early on Tuesday, Kharge highlighted the contributions made by prime ministers, starting with Jawaharlal Nehru to counter claims that the country had only developed in the last few years.

“It is with pain that I say that today, democracy, constitutional and autonomous bodies are under serious threat. New tools are being used to stifle the voice of the opposition,” Kharge said in his video address on X, formerly known as Twitter. “When MPs are suspended for an indefinite period... When opposition leaders’ speeches are expunged if we mention Adani... When mikes are switched off... what else we can do? We celebrate Independence Day with people,” he said.

Kharge, who unfurled the national flag at his residence and later at the Congress headquarters where the Independence Day function was also attended by Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders, reiterated some of these concerns in his address. “Opposition MPs in Parliament being suspended… When I stand up in Parliament to speak, my mic gets switched off,” he said.

Asked about his absence from the Red Fort event, Kharge listed two primary reasons. One, he said, was that he had a problem with his eye, and second, that he had to unfurl the national flag at his residence and then at the Congress office.

Kharge said that he could not have reached the Congress office in time from Red Fort. “I did not go there due to paucity of time,” he said at the Congress headquarters.Congress leader Manickam Tagore said they celebrated Independence Day with the people of the country.

Senior Congress leader Pawan Khera wondered if it was mandatory for everyone to attend the prime minister’s speech.

“I don’t see where is the problem. The Prime Minister goes somewhere, there is a route. By the time, the route opens, we would have missed our own flag hoisting at Congress headquarters. It’s not so simple,” Khera said. “Why is the Prime Minister upset? He wants a captive audience or what? I don’t understand”.

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