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Rahul Gandhi Vs Lok Sabha Speaker Tussle Continues

By Fnf correspondent | PUBLISHED: 01, Jul 2024, 20:52 pm IST | UPDATED: 01, Jul 2024, 20:52 pm IST

Rahul Gandhi Vs Lok Sabha Speaker Tussle Continues New Delhi: Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi and Speaker Om Birla had a verbal exchange in the Lok Sabha on Monday when the Congress leader questioned why he bowed before Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he and the PM shook hands with him on his election as the presiding officer. As the treasury benches objected to Gandhi's remarks, Speaker Birla responded saying he maintains the tradition of bowing to elders.

Gandhi, however, said the Speaker is the tallest leader of the House. Participating in the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's address, Gandhi talked about the first sitting of the 18th Lok Sabha when the Speaker was elected, and he along with Prime Minister Modi, walked the Speaker to his podium.

You are the final arbitror of the Lok Sabha, you are the final word here. What you say fundamentally defines the Indian democracy. There are two people sitting in that Chair -- Speaker of Lok Sabha and Mr Om Birla...," said Gandhi. "I noticed something. When I shook your hand, you stood straight and shook my hand. When Modi ji shook your hand, you bowed down and shook his hand," he added.

Entire treasury benches rose in an uproar on this remark. Union Home Minister Amit Shah also intervened and said "this is an allegation on the Chair".
Birla, however, said that he was keeping the tradition of bowing to the elders. "Prime Minister is the Leader of House. My culture and traditions say, in personal as well as public life, and on this seat, I should bow to those who are elders and those who are equal should be treated equally, that is what I have learnt," the Speaker said in his reply.

"I can say it from my Chair. It is my culture to bow down to elders and even touch their feet if required...," said Birla. Gandhi said he respects what the Speaker said, but added, "no one is bigger than the Speaker in this House and everyone should bow to him. I will bow to you and so would the entire Opposition".

He said the Speaker is the custodian and the "last word" in the Lok Sabha. "As members of the Lok Sabha we are subservient to the Speaker. We will listen to what you say... But the only thing I will request is that it is important that there is fairness in the House," Gandhi added. Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Modi, the Congress leader said the former has a direct connection to God. The prime minister got a direct message from God at 8 pm one day and he announced demonetisation, he alleged.

"He had some fine-tuning with God... The prime minister has said he has a direct connection with God, I did not say that...,"Gandhi said. After Birla interjected and asked him to respect the prime minister, he said, "These are the words of the prime minister, not mine." "He has said he has a direct connection with god... Perhaps at 8 pm, a message came from God... Modi ji, implement demonetisation," he said.

Gandhi said that small and medium businesses were destroyed by the decision, adding the backbone of job creation was destroyed.

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