You and five of your party colleagues have been suspended for five days. The Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, has called the suspension harsh. How do you see the Speaker’s actions?
The Speaker is the guardian of the House; so, I have nothing to say on the suspension. But many were left wondering what the reason (for suspension) was without a warning. Generally a person is named first… Or the Leader of the Opposition is called to discuss the issue. The Speaker is well within her right to take any action she deems fit. At the same time, BJP MP Anurag Thakur was spotted taking a video.
Have you brought Thakur filming inside the House to the government or the Speaker’s attention?
The government had no reaction. I had told Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar that this was happening. If a party is so bothered about the dignity of the House, what about Thakur’s action.We have given a written complaint against Thakur to the Speaker. If Bhagwant Mann can be tried and suspended, why not Anurag Thakur…..I have also asked for a unedited copy of the live proceedings too. The rules should apply equally to all sides. An inquiry should be ordered and immediate action should be taken against Thakur for flouting the rules of the House and endangering its security.
But what prompted you and your colleagues to storm the Well and tear papers?
We were asking for the adjournment motion, which we had given, to be converted into a discussion. The reason is because mob lynching is a grave matter. We protested for one whole hour. Should the government not tell the Speaker that please call all the leaders and let us discuss and sort it out. Instead, members of the treasury benches were arguing with us. It is the sheer arrogance of the government that provoked the opposition and led to the events.
But the government had agreed to a debate on mob lynching?
It was the BJP that created a ruckus in the House and prevented a discussion. The government wanted to stall a meaningful discussion on incidents of mob frenzy and wanted to run away from this issue of public importance. The government has always used its majority to suppress and stifle the voice of the Opposition. It cannot use its brute majority to intimidate the Opposition. The Opposition keeps the government accountable. We have every right to raise issues of public importance.
Tomorrow is the swearing-in of the new President. Will the Opposition attend the function?
We will hold a protest at the Gandhi statue before the House begins. But it will not have an impact on the swearing in. That is a separate issue.