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President, PM Condemn Mimicking Dhankhar, BJP Members Stood for an Hour in Support

President, PM Condemn Mimicking Dhankhar, BJP Members Stood for an Hour in Support

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, Dec 20: The BJP Members of the Rajya Sabha stood for an hour on Wednesday morning in the upper House as a demonstration of support to the chairman and vice-president Jagdeep Dhankhar on the political row over suspended Trinamool Congress member Kalyan Banerjee derisively mimicking him during the Opposition’s protest on the stairs of Parliament against the MPs’ suspension on Tuesday.

President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday extended their support to Mr Dhankhar on the issue. Ms Murmu on X said, “I was dismayed to see the manner in which our respected Vice President was humiliated in the Parliament complex. Elected representatives must be free to express themselves, but their expression should be within the norms of dignity and courtesy. That has been the Parliamentary tradition we are proud of, and the People of India expect them to uphold it.”

Mr Modi expressed great pain over the “abject theatrics” of some MPs in Parliament complex, the Vice President’s office said. “Received a telephone call from the Prime Minister, Shri @narendramodi Ji. He expressed great pain over the abject theatrics of some Honourable MPs and that too in the sacred Parliament complex yesterday,” the Vice President’s Secretariat said.

“He told me that he has been at the receiving end of such insults for twenty years and counting but the fact that it could happen to a Constitutional office like the Vice President and that too in Parliament was unfortunate,” Mr Dhankhar was quoted as saying on X. Mr Dhankhar told the Prime Minister that such incidents would not deter him from doing his duty.

“I told him: Mr Prime Minister, the antics of a few won’t prevent me from performing my duty and upholding the principles enshrined in our Constitution. I am committed to those values from the bottom of my heart. None of the insults will make me change my path,” Mr Dhankhar said.

The political row broke out after Trinamool Congress leader Kalyan Banerjee derisively mimicked Mr Dhankhar during the Opposition’s protest on the stairs of Parliament against the MPs’ suspension. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was seen making a video of the performance by Mr Banerjee who appeared to mimic the way Mr Dhankhar walked by leaning forward and made reference to having a spine.

Mr Dhankhar had given vent to his anguish in the Rajya Sabha, saying he was personally hurt as his farmer and Jat backgrounds were targeted. “Imagine what must be going through my heart when your senior leader videographs a Member of Parliament mocking the institution of the chairman,” he said in Rajya Sabha.

On Wednesday, Mr Dhankhar, however, said he did not care if he was insulted as an individual, but won’t tolerate the insult of Vice-President’s office. Without naming Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, he questioned the sanskaar (values) of those who filmed and amplified Trinamool Congress Kalyan Banerjee’s mimicry on Parliament premises yesterday.

Addressing Congress MP Digvijaya Singh in Rajya Sabha, Mr Dhankhar questioned the “silence” of top Congress leaders on the episode. “You say your party is 138 years old. Your silence is ringing in my ears. (Congress chief Mallikarjun) Kharge ji’s silence in ringing in my ears. Everyone knows what is happening,” he said. “A person derives fun (from the mimicry) by videographing it, amplifies it. These are the manners? The level is so low now?” he added.

The Trinamool MP has said he had no intention to hurt anyone and termed mimicry an art. Mr Banerjee as also said Prime Minister Modi had mimicked Opposition leaders inside the parliament. He has also said he was not a Rajya Sabha member and did not know how Mr Dhankhar held proceedings in the Upper House.

On the mimicry controversy, Rahul Gandhi said he had simply shot a video of the suspended MPs sitting in the Parliament complex and that the discourse was not focusing on the issues that matter.

Asked about Mr Dhankhar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP condemning the act and terming it an insult, Mr Gandhi said on Wednesday, “Who insulted whom, and how? MPs were sitting there, I took their video, which is on my phone. The media is showing something and saying something, PM Modi is making remarks… nobody has said anything.”

On Mr Dhankhar claiming that the personal attack was an insult of his farmer background and of the Jat community to which he belongs, the Congress MP said, “They have thrown 150 of our MPs out of Parliament and there is no discussion about this in the media…. There is no discussion on unemployment. Our MPs are sitting there and are sad, and you are discussing that.”

The Congress has also alleged that an entire ecosystem is now being galvanised on the “mimicry non-issue” while attention is being diverted from how a BJP MP allegedly “facilitated the entry of two intruders” into the Lok Sabha on December 13, the 22nd anniversary of the Parliament attack.

In a post on X, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, “The entire Modi ecosystem now being galvanised on the so-called mimicry non-issue, while it remains silent on the real issue of why and how a BJP MP from Mysuru facilitated entry of two intruders into Lok Sabha on December 13th – who are now charged under the anti-terror law UAPA.”

 

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