‘Guardians of democracy’: INDIA bloc launches protest outside Parliament amid pro-tem Speaker row | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

‘Guardians of democracy’: INDIA bloc launches protest outside Parliament amid pro-tem Speaker row

Jun 24, 2024 01:32 PM IST

Calling the protesting leaders “guardians of democracy”, Congress leader K C Venugopal posted a video of the demonstration.

As the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha began, several leaders of the Opposition INDIA bloc staged a protest in front of the Gandhi statue in the Parliament, holding copies of the Constitution.

Opposition leaders protest outside Parliament with copies of Constitution
Opposition leaders protest outside Parliament with copies of Constitution

Calling the protesting leaders “guardians of democracy”, Congress leader K C Venugopal posted a video of the demonstration on X (formerly known as Twitter). In the video, Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, party leader Rahul Gandhi, and TMC leader Mahua Moitra can be seen protesting. The leaders held the Constitution copies in their hands and raised slogans like -- “Our Constitution long live, long live” and “Who will save the Constitution? We will, we will”.

“We are committed to protecting and upholding the Constitution. We are united in our resolve to fight against injustice…The INDIA alliance enters the 18th Lok Sabha taking Bapu’s blessings and with a fresh resolve to give voice to the people’s issues, challenges, hopes and aspirations in Parliament and keep the government in check every single minute,” Venugopal captioned the video.

The INDIA bloc leaders are protesting against the appointment of BJP leader Bhartruhari Mahtab as the pro-tem Speaker, the alleged irregularities in the NEET UG-2024 examination and the relocation of statutes within the Parliament building complex.

According to the Opposition, the eight-term member K Suresh, a Dalit leader, was overlooked for the temporary post of pro-tem Speaker. The Congress said that Mahtab's appointment by the BJP deviates from the traditional practice of appointing the senior member, adding that it is an “established tradition” in the Lok Sabha that the senior-most MP becomes the pro-tem Speaker.

Also read: ‘NEET’ jeers by Opposition as Dharmendra Pradhan takes oath

“The attitude of the government is still that of an arrogant government. They superseded a Dalit MP who is an 8-term MP. K Suresh should have been the pro-tem speaker. It is very unfortunate that the Parliamentary Affairs Minister has taken such a decision without any consultation with the opposition parties,” Congress MP Manickam Tagore said.

Meanwhile, TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee, who participated in the protest, said that the provisions of the Constitution had been violated.

“The Constitution has been violated by the Narendra Modi government. The way the pro-tem speaker has been appointed is a clear violation of the Constitutional provision and clear violation of the earlier precedent,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi hits out at Centre

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah of attacking the Constitution, and said it was “not acceptable” to them.

“We would not allow the attack on the Constitution that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are doing…This attack is not acceptable to us. Our message is reaching the public, and no power can touch the Constitution of India, and we will protect it,” he told the media.

PM Modi's message to Opposition

The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha began with President Droupadi Murmu swearing in seven-time MP Mahtab as the pro-tem Speaker. Following this, PM Modi and other ministers also took oath as members of Parliament.

Ahead of the session, Modi sent a message to the Opposition saying that the people of the country expect "debate and diligence" from members of the parliament, not “disturbance”.

“India needs a responsible Opposition. People want substance not slogans, they want debate, diligence not disturbance in Parliament. People expect good steps from the Opposition. It has been disappointing so far, but I hope it will fulfil its role and maintain democracy's decorum,” Modi said while addressing the media outside the new Parliament building.

He also took an indirect swipe at Congress by mentioning the Emergency and saying that the new generation will “never forget how the Constitution was destroyed”.

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