The Congress Thursday said Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge’s summoning by Enforcement Directorate during the working hours of Parliament was an “insult” to the legislature and alleged that “Modishahi” is reaching a new low.
The opposition party also said its MPs will march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday at 11 am to meet President Droupadi Murmu and raise the issue of the prevailing economic situation in the country. The Congress has planned a mass protest against price rise, unemployment and the GST hike on essential items on August 5, wherein it will take out a march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan and ‘gherao’ the prime minister’s residence.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh raised the issue of summoning of Mr Kharge by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), saying he was called by the probe agency when Parliament is in session and he left around 12:20 pm and presented himself.
“This is Modishahi reaching new lows,” tweeted Mr Ramesh.
Later in the day, Mr Ramesh said Mr Kharge had been undergoing interrogation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for the last four-and-a-half hours. “His ordeal is continuing. The Congress party stands with him in solidarity,” he said.
Speaking with the media, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said that summoning of the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha by a probe agency during Parliamentary proceedings had never happened in the history of democracy.
The attack by the opposition party came after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) resumed its raids at the office of Young Indian (YI), the holding company of Congress owned newspaper National Herald, following Kharge presenting himself before agency officials at the Herald House building here .
The 80-year-old Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha reached the building at Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg near ITO around 12:40 pm and met ED officials on the summons of the agency, which sought his attendance during the raids at YI in his capacity of being the principal officer of the company.
“There is no such example in the history iof democracy. If they had to call Mallikarjun Kharge ji, they could have called him before 11 am or after 5 pm. The Question Hour was going on and before that Zero Hour was there and then ED is calling him to appear before it,” Mr Singh said.
“Why is Modi ji scared? Inflation has increased, you can see for yourself. We are fighting your battle. Tomorrow at 11 am all MPs will meet the President to say that the finance minister (Nirmala Sitharaman) is not acquainted with the economic condition of the country,” he said.
Another Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tiwari said Mr Kharge was summoned when his notice was there in Rajya Sabha and he was to speak.
“Two days before vice presidential polls, he was called and the ED was misused. This is not just insult of the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha but of the Constitution, traditions on which Rajya Sabha functions and of the entire legislature,” Mr Tiwari said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)