New Delhi [India]: Responding to Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar’s ‘veiled attack’ at Rahul Gandhi’s Cambridge speech, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Friday said the remarks by the Rajya Sabha Chairman were “surprising” as well as “disappointing”.
In a statement Jairam Ramesh said that in adherence to his Constitutional post Jagdeep Dhankhar should be at arms-length from the government. The Congress leader also said that the speech by Rahul Gandhi in the United Kingdom was not different from what he has said several times on Indian shores.
“At an event held on March 9, 2023, to mark the launch of a book, the Hon’ble Vice President of India made certain remarks on Rahul Gandhi’s speech delivered in the United Kingdom. There are certain offices which require us to shed our prejudices, our party allegiances and compel us to rid ourselves of whatever propaganda we may have imbibed along the way.
“The office of the Vice President of India, an office on which the Constitution bestows the additional responsibility of being the Chair of the Rajya Sabha, is foremost amongst these. The Honourable Vice President’s statement on Shri Rahul Gandhi, therefore, was surprising, to say the least. He rushed to the defence of a government from which he is constitutionally required to be at arms-length and in a manner that was both confusing as well as disappointing. Shri Rahul Gandhi has not said anything abroad that he has not said several times here. And unlike certain other individuals, his stand does not vary depending on where he sits,” Jairam Ramesh said in a statement.
Jairam Ramesh also said that Rahul Gandhi’s statements were a reflection of the reality on the ground.
“His [Rahul Gandhi’s] statement was factual and representative of the reality on the ground. Over the last two weeks, more than twelve Members of Parliament belonging to Opposition Parties have been served with Breach of Privilege Notices for protesting the suppression of their voices in Parliament on an issue that is inconvenient to the ruling regime. Over the last eight years, channels and newspapers have been blacked out, raided, and intimidated to the point that the only voice that is carried is that of the Government. Institutions that maintained a studied distance from the governments of the past are now subordinated to the point that they choke on any order or finding adversarial to the ruling regime. Those who dissent are penalised. There may be no declaration of emergency but make no mistake, the actions of this regime are not those of a secure government that respects the Constitution. The Hon’ble Vice President’s remarks on this occasion, as well on certain previous ones, only serve to underscore this point,” the Congress leader’s statement read.
“In these times, to be petrified to dissent would be a betrayal of the Constitution and all that our founding fathers fought for. We at the Indian National Congress have been the most consistent voice in opposition to this regime and will continue to do so. The Chairman, however, is an umpire, a referee, a friend, philosopher and guide to all. He cannot be a cheerleader for any ruling dispensation. History measures leaders not on the zealousness with which they defended their party, but the dignity with which they performed their roles in the service of the people,” it read further.
Earlier on Thursday, Vice President Dhankhar attacked Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s lecture at Cambridge University in the UK, by saying that while India is having its moments of glory G20 presidency, some parliamentarians are engaged in the thoughtless unfair denigration of our well-nurtured democratic values.