ED summoning RS Leader of Oppn in midst of Parliamentary proceedings black chapter for democracy: Congress

"If they had to call Mallikarjun Kharge, they could have called him before 11 am or after 5 pm. Question Hour was going on..." senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said

NH Photo by Vipin
NH Photo by Vipin

NH Web Desk

The Congress on Thursday said Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoning Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge during the working hours of Parliament amounted to the legislature being "insulted" and alleged that "Modishahi" was reaching a new low.

The opposition party also said its MPs will march to the Rashtrapati Bhawan on Friday at 11 am to meet President Droupadi Murmu and raise the issue of the prevailing economic situation in the country.

The Congress has planned a mass protest against price rise, unemployment and the GST hike on essential items on August 5, wherein it will take out a march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan and 'gherao' the prime minister's residence.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh raised the issue of Kharge being summoned by the ED, saying he was called by the probe agency when Parliament was in session, following which he left around 12.20 pm and presented himself.

"This is Modishahi reaching new lows," Ramesh tweeted.

Later in the day, Ramesh said Kharge had been undergoing interrogation by the ED for the last four-and-a-half hours. "His ordeal is continuing. The Congress party stands with him in solidarity," he said.

Speaking with the media, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said that summoning of the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha by a probe agency during Parliamentary proceedings had never happened in the history of Indian democracy.

Congress leader Jebi Mather said, "What happened in Parliament today, should be marked as a black chapter of democracy. There should be grace in democracy, there should be respect in democracy, but it is very unfortunate that Leader of Opposition was summoned by ED while the house proceedings were going on. He was supposed to raise matters that are of utmost importance to the country at large and to the people of this country".

"Congress Party wants to make it very clear that they can threaten us, they can issue ED notice, summons, but we will not withdraw from our responsibility to raise the voice of the people of this country on issues that matter," she added.

Senior Congress leader Rajiv Shukla too called the development "highly condemnable".

"There is no such example in the history of our democracy. If they had to call Mallikarjun Kharge ji, they could have called him before 11 am or after 5 pm. The Question Hour was going on and before that Zero Hour was there and then ED is calling him to appear before it," Digvijaya Singh said.

"Why is Modi ji scared? Inflation has increased, you can see for yourself. We are fighting your battle. Tomorrow at 11 am, all MPs will meet the President to say that the finance minister (Nirmala Sitharaman) is not acquainted with the economic condition of the country," he said.

Another Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tiwari said Kharge was summoned when his notice was there in Rajya Sabha and he was to speak.

"Two days before vice presidential polls, he was called and the ED was misused. This is not just an insult of the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha but of the Constitution, the traditions on which Rajya Sabha functions and of the entire legislature," Tiwari said.

(With PTI inputs)

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Published: 04 Aug 2022, 8:08 PM