‘Not allowed to speak’: Rahul Gandhi to Lok Sabha speaker on exit from parliamentary panel meeting

Amid the political fury surrounding his exit from the parliamentary panel meeting, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday wrote to Lok Sabha president Om Birla and said he was not allowed to speak freely during the meeting. Gandhi called for the speaker’s intervention on the matter, citing the right of an elected member of Parliament to speak freely and the need to protect him.

Congressional leader and MP Wayanad walked out of the parliamentary panel meeting Wednesday along with his party members, sparking a wave of political backlash, arguing that the panel’s time had been wasted discussing the military uniform instead of crucial issue of national security.

Gandhi, according to people familiar with the process, expressed the opinion that it was best to let such issues be discussed by the forces and suggested that the group focus on more substantive issues. The chairman of the jury, Jual Oram, then asked Gandhi to stick to the agenda for the day, listed as “an introduction to the rank, structure of the defense forces including their uniforms, stars and badges, and review of the work of the cantonment councils “.

Gandhi also said in his letter that the President, being the keeper of Parliament, should ensure that the discussions and presentations in the defense panel are in consonance with his role and goals.

“Sir, as president of the Lok Sabha and guardian of the Chamber, I urge you to intervene and ensure that the discussion and presentations given in the defense committee are in consonance with the role and purpose of the institution and that the right of Elected MPs speaking freely is protected, ”the congressional leader wrote.

Gandhi has also raised the issue of the Galwan confrontation since May of this year and said: “Are you aware that we are currently facing a serious national security challenge on our borders and that China has forcibly occupied our territory and has martyred 20 of our soldiers. There are many critical issues to be discussed at a time like this. “

“It is the right of a member to point out the deviations from the agenda and the purposes of the Standing Committee. The Committee is free to disagree with what I say, but the fact that the President does not even allow one member to speak is a sad comment on how the government handles military affairs.

He expressed his dismay at the contents of the meeting and the way it was conducted and said that he intends to provide legislative oversight over the policies and decisions of the Ministry of Defense, being the primary interface between the defense forces and representatives elected.

The former congressman said he was extremely upset to discover that the chief of defense and the top military, navy and air force, who have important issues to address, have been invited by the president to spend an entire afternoon explaining the colors and the different types of uniforms and insignia worn by the different ranks of our forces.

The meeting was attended by Defense Chief of Staff Bipin Rawat, Army Deputy Chief Satinder Kumar Saini and Defense Secretary Arun Kumar. According to some members, Rajya Sabha member Lt Gen (retired) DP Vats was asking officers why the Indian defense establishment could not have a uniform classification system, which is the same designation in the army, navy and aeronautics like the United States. .