Monday, Dec 05, 2022

PM Modi’s reply was not a reply — it was an election speech, says CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury

"PM Narendra Modi's reply was not a reply. It was a straight forward election speech aimed at his electorate in UP, Uttarakhand and Mizoram," said Yechury.

sitaram-yechruy-759 PM Modi’s reply was smacked of complete arrogance and total disconnect with the reality, said Sitaram Yechury at Parliament. (Source: File Photo)

CPI(M) general secretary and Rajya Sabha member Sitaram Yechury speaks to The Indian Express about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in Parliament, why his party, along with the Congress and other Opposition parties walked out of Rajya Sabha after that speech, and why he feels democracy is in danger after parts of his speech made in the House on Monday were edited out.

WATCH VIDEO | Congress Demands Apology From PM Modi Over His Remarks Against Dr Manmohan Singh

Excerpts from the interview:

Why did you all walk out? How do you see the Prime Minister’s speech?

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The Prime Minister’s reply was not a reply. It was a straight forward election speech aimed at his electorate in UP, Uttarakhand and Mizoram. He did not do justice to the debate. His reply smacked of complete arrogance and total disconnect with the reality. He made disparaging comments about everybody. Normally in Rajya Sabha we have the right to reply. If our names are taken, we have the right to reply and clarify our positions and state our point. That was not allowed. That is exactly what the Chairman (Hamid Ansari) has also said.

Hamid Ansari said the established practice was not observed today.

In Rajya Sabha, we have a tradition…normally when a person’s name or a party’s name is taken, the person concerned stands up and whoever is the speaker he permits the intervention. I said you follow the convention. But he (Modi) did not relent. The Chairman is right in saying that the normal practice of a speaker conceding, when somebody wishes to intervene, has not been observed.

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Why did you not press for division while moving the amendments?

The Congress walked out and along with that remaining members of JD(U) too walked out. That only left Sharad Yadav without anybody of his JD(U), CPM members and D Raja of CPI. We knew the amendments would be defeated. The point, however, was to make the point that it is an inhuman government. People have died while standing in queues to withdraw their own money. Forget paying them compensation; at least condole the deaths. The government is not willing to even that.

Was there a lack of coordination among the Opposition?
There was no lack of coordination. They (Congress members) all would have stayed for vote but for the comments he (Modi) made about Manmohan Singh. With Dr Singh sitting there and saying what he said…it is an insult.

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You had complained that parts of your speech made on Monday were edited out.

Whatever does not suit the ruling party is being expunged. And then they have the temerity to write as ordered by the Chair. I got to know that my remarks were expunged initially at only one place where it was connected to the President. But in the final, verbatim debate which was put out, it was deleted at six places. It is now being restored in all other places except the first one. I got the restored copy today. Except in the first place where it is connected with the President …the rest has been restored.

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What about your complaint about your speech?

What I had said was that the President is very fond of using four ‘Ds’ to describe Parliamentary democracy in our country. He often says that there should be debate, discussion and then a decision, and not disruption. I also mentioned about four ‘D’s – deception, disruption, diversion and diabolic agenda. In the Lok Sabha it is worse. They just totally eliminate.

After your complaint, the words were restored in other places. Do you plan to take the matter forward?

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We are examining how it can be done. Whether it merits privilege. We are examining to take it forward. It is a very serious matter. Parliamentarians’ privilege of what he says in the House cannot be tampered with.

First published on: 09-02-2017 at 06:05:04 am
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