NEW DELHI, August 13 : The Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has suggested that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should lead an all-party delegation to hold a peace rally in Manipur to restore peace in the state torn by ethnic violence.
Replying to questions from Rajat Sharma in his show ‘AAP KI ADALAT’, Chowdhury said, “PM must tell the people of Manipur that they need not fear and the entire nation stands with them for restoring peace”.
“We made this suggestion in writing in the House, but they did not agree. This is nothing but ‘Bahumat Ka Bahubali’ (arrogance of majority)”, Chowdhury said.
The Congress leader was asked why the Opposition walked out even before the PM started speaking on Manipur. Chowdhury replied: “During his speech, we waited for him to speak on Manipur for two hours, but he did not. Even his ministers started dozing off during his speech. You can watch the visuals. He spoke on Manipur only for three minutes towards the end of his speech. Had we known that he would speak on Manipur, we would not have walked out.”
ON NIRAV MODI, DHRITARASHTRA AND SONIA
Chaudhury, who has been suspended from the House for “repeated unruly conduct”, spoke on why he compared PM Narendra Modi with fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi and Mahabharata period king Dhritarashtra. He has been suspended till the House Privilege Committee gives it ruling in this matter.
The Congress leader said: “We had been waiting impatiently for the PM to speak on Manipur since Day One. For three months, Manipur with a 27 lakh population has been in turmoil and a buffer zone has been created between the two communities. People are not able to bury or burn the bodies of their kin lying in mortuaries. I referred to the blind King Dhritarashtra, in whose presence Draupadi was disrobed. The same thing is now happening to women in Manipur today. Then what is the difference between Hastinapur and Manipur?”
Chowdhury said: “Similarly I was comparing the words ‘Narendra’ with ‘Nirav’. ‘Narendra’ means king of men and ‘Nirav’ means silent. I was asking why Narendra is Nirav, but it was taken differently. What is wrong in it? If I am wrong, I can be hanged. I can quit political life.”
In a counter-attack against the BJP members, the Congress leader cited, what he said, “the number of times Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were abused inside the House. Sonia ji, who sits besides me in the House, was always referred to with the words ‘Italy’. Is it a crime to be born in Italy? In Indian culture, a daughter who goes to her in-laws home become a part of that family. Can anybody disagree that Indira ji and Rajiv ji became martyrs for the nation?
If Sonia ji had said ‘yes’ in 2004, she could have become Prime Minister. If Rahul ji had said ‘yes’, he could have become the Prime Minister, but Manmohan Singh was madeto become the PM. Soon after Rahul was disqualified from membership of Lok Sabha, he had to leave his official residence immediately. There are several hundred BJP leaders occupying bungalows in Delhi, who are not MPs. Is such a ‘politics of revenge’ (pratishodi rajneeti) good for the nation?”
ON MAMATA AND BENGAL POLITICS
The Congress leader, a known detractor of Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, was careful while replying to questions about her. When Rajat Sharma pointed out that he had described Mamata and her nephew as ‘thieves’, the Trinamool Congress as “a party of thieves” at a time when the opposition conclave was going on in Patna, Chowdhury replied: “Patna’s topic was different and Bengal’s topic was different. There was panchayat elections going on in Bengal…At a time when INDIA bloc has been formed on a national level, and Narendra Modi has become worried, it is impossible for me to react more on this.”
To pointed questions from Rajat Sharma as to whether violence, bomb blasts, murders are still taking place in Bengal, Chowdhury said: “Yes. Nothing is alright (Kuch Bhi Theek Nahin Hai). Hum Jo Karte Hain, Locally Karte Hain (whatever we do, we do it locally). Iska Matlab Yeh Nahin Ki Sab Theek Hai (it does not mean, everything is alright).”
The Congress leader explained his stand thus: “There is a difference between pond (taalaab) and river (nadi). For me, Bengal is a pond, and India is a river. Naturally we will give to be more preference to river than to a pond. I say what I want to say. I do not speak snidely or behind the back.”
To a question who was his biggest political enemy, Modi or Mamata, Chowdhury’s reply was evasive: “I don’t consider anybody as enemy, but they are adversaries. I accord full respect to our Prime Minister, and I also respect Mamata ji because she is our Chief Minister. But when people’s issues are concerned, I will continue to raise their voice. My fight against them is not personal, but political and ideological.”
When Rajat Sharma asked whether there is any possibility of his patch-up with Mamata Banerjee, Chowdhury replied: “Politics is the art of possible.”