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Rahul Gandhi urges Lok Sabha Speaker to protect right of MPs to speak freely at house panel meetings

Rahul Gandhi urges Lok Sabha Speaker to protect right of MPs to speak freely at house panel meetings

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By Siddharth Sharma
New Delhi [India], December 17 (ANI): The Rahul Panel Meet row took a new turn on Thursday when Congress MP Rahul Gandhi wrote a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla saying that he was not allowed to speak freely at the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and sought his intervention.
In his letter, Gandhi urged the Speaker to ensure that the right of elected MPs to speak freely in parliamentary panel meetings was protected and being a guardian of the house, the Speaker should ensure that discussions and presentations in the panel on defence were in consonance with its role and objectives.
Earlier on Wednesday, Gandhi and two members of his party walked out of the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence.
According to Sources, he was disallowed to speak at the meeting by the panel chairman Jual Oram of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when he sought to raise the issues of Chinese aggression and better equipment of the soldiers at the border in Ladakh.
"It is the right of a member to point out digressions from the agenda and the purpose of the Standing Committee. The Committee is free to disagree with what I say, but the fact that the Chairman does not even permit a member to speak is a sad comment on how the government handles military affairs," Gandhi further added in his letter.
He also expressed displeasure over the contents of the meeting and the manner in which it was conducted and said that being the premier interface between the defence forces and elected representatives, it was meant to provide legislative oversight on policies and decisions of the defence ministry.
Gandhi further admitted that the agenda for the discussion at the meet was military uniforms, but taking into account the current military situation he felt this was surprising. (ANI)

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