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Centre counters Oppn charges, blames them for manhandling marshals, unruly scenes in Parliament

On Wednesday, several women Congress MPs alleged they were physically bullied by male marshals as they were protesting in the Well of the Rajya Sabha.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 12, 2021 8:31:27 pm
From left to right: Union Ministers Piyush Goyal, Prahlad Joshi, Dharmendra Pradhan, Anurag Singh Thakur and V Muraleedharan.

Hours after Opposition leaders including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi held a march outside Parliament to protest against the alleged manhandling of MPs in Rajya Sabha, a group of Union Ministers blamed Opposition members for the unruly scenes witnessed during the Monsoon Session.

While addressing a joint press conference, Union Minister Piyush Goyal accused the Opposition of manhandling marshals, and said their “my way or highway” approach is “highly condemnable”.

Goyal, who is also the Leader of House in Rajya Sabha, said the group of ministers met Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the House and made an appeal that the strongest possible action should be taken against the opposition MPs for their “deplorable behavior”.

Goyal told the media that the Opposition was unable to digest the fact that the country has given up on them and their behavior in Rajya Sabha was a new low of the parliamentary democracy.

Union Minister Anurag Thakur, meanwhile, said that the Secretary General’s table in Rajya Sabha is not meant for dancing and protesting. He was referring to an alleged incident when an opposition leader was seen above a table inside the Upper House of Parliament.

“We demand that Rajya Sabha Chairman should take stringent action against those opposition MPs who broke rules,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said. He alleged that it was pre-decided by Congress and its friendly allies that they would not allow Parliament to function.

Earlier today, top leaders of several Opposition parties met in the chamber of Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and then walked in protest from Parliament House to Vijay Chowk. Those who attended the meeting included Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Kharge, Sanjay Raut, Manoj Jha, and other Opposition leaders.

On Wednesday, several women Congress MPs alleged they were physically bullied by male marshals as they were protesting in the Well of the Rajya Sabha. Congress’ Chhaya Verma and Phulo Devi Netam alleged that male security personnel manhandled them and Netam fell in the melee.

NCP leader Sharad Pawar said that in his 55 years of being in Parliament, he had never seen such an incident in Rajya Sabha. He alleged that more than 40 men and women marshalls and security staff were deployed in the Upper House, including some who were brought from outside. “It is painful. It is an attack on democracy,” Pawar said.

Amid Opposition protests over the Pegasus snooping row and farm laws, both Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die two days earlier to the schedule on Wednesday. Both Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla expressed anguish over the washout, with Naidu briefly breaking down in the House.

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