Congress stages walkout in LS, says government influenced Chair

Congress stages walkout in LS, says government influenced Chair

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge. (File Photo: IANS)
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge. (File Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, Dec 20 (IANS) Congress members of the Lok Sabha staged a walkout on Wednesday after being denied permission to speak on the allegations made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against his predecessor Manmohan Singh.They also alleged that the treasury benches were directing the Chair and not allowing the Congress leaders to speak.The lower House, which witnessed two adjournments in the pre-lunch sitting over the issue amid protests by the Congress MPs, was disrupted again as it met at 2 p.m as they gathered near the Speaker's podium raising slogans.While most of the Congress members were near the Speaker's podium, the party's leader in the House Mallikarjun Kharge requested permission to raise a point of order.Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai, who was in the Chair at the time, said permission could only be granted if the issue was related to the bill which was being taken up -- The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill.While the discussion on the bill went on, the Congress members continued to protest, and Thambidurai finally agreed to give Kharge a chance to raise his point of order.The Congress leader urged the Chair to expunge the remarks made during Zero Hour by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Poonam Mahajan, who alleged that the Congress leaders were conspiring to remove PM Modi."One member used defamatory words against the former Prime Minister who is not a member of this House," Kharge said, adding that he had also requested Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to expunge the remark.Kharge's microphone was switched off before he could finish and soon after, Speaker Mahajan was back in the Chair replacing the Deputy Speaker.The Congress MPs alleged that the government was "controlling the Chair" and staged a walkout.Congress MP Sushmita Deb later said that as soon as Thambidurai allowed Kharge to speak, the BJP's chief whip in the House came behind the Chair in order to stop him.The Congress members cried foul and said the treasury benches should not direct the Chair. Soon after, Thambidurai was replaced by Mahajan in the Chair.Talking to reporters outside the Parliament building, Kharge also said that the Congress would boycott the rest of the day's sitting in the Lok Sabha.--IANSao/nir/bg

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