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5 questions | ‘Govt afraid to discuss real issues, they want to scare Opp’: Manickam Tagore

"They are saying a discussion can be held once Nirmala Sitharaman recovers from Covid. A discussion on fuel price hike does not require the presence of the Finance Minister," says the Congress MP.

Opposition members protest in the Rajya Sabha during ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, July 25, 2022. (SANSAD TV/PTI)

Congress MP Manickam Tagore speaks to Manoj C G:

Four Congress MPs, including you, were suspended for the remainder of the House session. What is your reaction to this?

We have been demanding a discussion for the last six days. We had been giving adjournment notices every day demanding discussion on the increase in fuel prices and hike in GST rates. Today (Monday) is the sixth day. And today also the Government did not concede to our demand. We just want a discussion on the hardships faced by the people. The government is afraid to discuss such real issues. They want to scare the Opposition by suspending us. We are not afraid.

When the House met at 2 PM, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said the Government was ready for discussion

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Have they given a date and time for the discussion? They are not fixing the time and date. They are merely saying we are ready for a discussion. They are saying a discussion can be held once Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recovers from Covid. A discussion on fuel price hike does not require the presence of the Finance Minister.

What is the alternative?

A discussion has to be held. There are precedents. If you remember, it was Defence Minister Rajnath Singh who replied to a discussion on the farm laws. And it was the late Arun Jaitley who replied to a discussion on the Rafale fighter jet issue. He was the Finance Minister then and Sitharaman was the Defence Minister.

Before announcing the suspension, the Speaker warned you repeatedly not to show placards

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Most of the journalists are not allowed to cover Parliament, citing Covid protocols. Even the third wave has ebbed. But Covid protocols are still in place in Parliament. Secondly, Sansad TV does not show Opposition protests. They don’t show why we are protesting. The cameras don’t turn to the Opposition benches. We want to tell the public that we are protesting and raising their issues. So we are constrained to show the placards. Because the world does not know why we are protesting. They don’t give a chance for our leader to speak in the House.

What is your next plan?

We are fighting for the issues of the people. We followed all Parliamentary norms… The party will take a call on the future strategy.

First published on: 26-07-2022 at 04:30:13 am
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