Speaker disallows debate on China border face-off, Congress walks out

However, it was almost a solitary protest by the Congress as even like-minded opposition MPs belonging to DMK, Trinamool, NCP and National Conference stayed back, as also did no-aligned BJD, YSRCP and TRS, apparently being sensitive to the governm...

PTI
Congress MPs asserted they were in full solidarity with the Indian Army and for national unity but wanted to raise questions about how the Centre handled the Chinese aggression.
NEW DELHI: Congress members in the Lok Sabha staged a walk-out after Speaker Om Birla disallowed their demand for a discussion on the border faceoff with China and attempts to ask questions to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

However, it was almost a solitary protest by the Congress as even like-minded opposition MPs belonging to DMK, Trinamool, NCP and National Conference stayed back, as also did no-aligned BJD, YSRCP and TRS, apparently being sensitive to the government’s and even Speaker’s call ‘the House was behind the Indian troops at this challenging juncture’. Only Left parties and the IUML joined the walkout.

Congress MPs asserted they were in full solidarity with the Indian Army and for national unity but wanted to raise questions about how the Centre handled the Chinese aggression. The scattered seating of MPs in view of Covid-19 limited Congress’ capacity to put up a stronger protest.


Birla told Congress floor leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury that rules didn’t allow seeking clarifications after ministers made statements. ”You can say the House is fully supporting our troops,” Birla quipped while warding off demands for a discussion. At the Business Advisory Committee meeting, earlier in the day, the parliamentary affairs minister rejected Chowdhary’s demand for a debate by arguing that when troops were engaged, a Parliament debate ‘won’t send an encouraging signal to the morale of the forces’. Representatives of the rest of the Opposition parties didn’t press for a debate.

Addressing a press conference later, Chowdhary said that in 1962 Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had ensured that Parliament debated for two days the ongoing war with China. “During the 1962 war, Atal Bihar Vajpayee had demanded a discussion on the ongoing war and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had agreed to hold a two-day discussion in Parliament. Why is the Modi government running away from a Parliament debate if it believes all is well on the Line of Actual Control? The Congress always stands by the nation and our troops. But, we want to ask some questions on the government handling of the Chinese aggression.” He alleged the defence minister's statement skirted many important aspects on the border row.

Rahul Gandhi, who is abroad, tweeted: “It is clear from the statement of the defence minister that Modiji misled the country on Chinese encroachment. Our country has always been, and will remain, with the Indian Army. But Mr Modi, When will you stand against China? When will we take back the land of our country from China? Do not be afraid to name China.” While the Congress MPs will continue to demand a House debate on the border issue, the government appears to have closed the matter with the defence minister’s statement.
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