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Sharad Pawar reacts to ‘no Dharna in Parliament House’ notice

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Friday reacted to a notice issued by Rajya Sabha secretariat that states that demonstrations, dharnas, fast or religious ceremonies can no longer be held in the precincts of Parliament House.

Speaking to reporters in Nagpur, the NCP Rajya Sabha MP said he received a statement from the “Parliament Speaker” that there is no such restriction, news agency ANI reported.

“We have received a statement from the Parliament Speaker that there is no such restriction (protests not allowed on Parliament premises). Leaders of all political parties will sit together tomorrow (Saturday) in Delhi and discuss,” Pawar said.

The new bulletin, which has been issued by Rajya Sabha secretary general PC Mody ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament beginning July 18, said the kind cooperation of members is solicited.

“Members cannot use the precincts of the Parliament House for any demonstration, dharna, strike, fast, or for the purpose of performing any religious ceremony,” the bulletin said.

Congress general secretary and chief whip of the party in Rajya Sabha Jairam Ramesh took to Twitter to attack the government.

“Vishguru’s latest salvo — D(h)arna Mana Hai!,” he said, sharing a copy of the circular issued on July 14.

Opposition members have in the past demonstrated inside Parliament complex and have also staged protests and fasts outside Mahatma Gandhi’s statue inside the complex.

Opposition leaders have already upped the ante against the Centre over certain words and terms deemed as unparliamentary, days before the Monsoon Session.

According to a new booklet by the Lok Sabha secretariat, some commonly used words including ‘betrayed’, ‘corrupt’, ‘drama’, ‘hypocrisy’ and abused, along with terms such as ‘jumlajeevi’, ‘Baal buddhi’, ‘Covid spreader’ and ‘Snoopgate’ will be considered unparliamentary from now on in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

At least 40 such unparliamentary words and terms were listed in the booklet.

Several opposition leaders strongly criticised the list and alleged that it only contained words that opponents used to describe the Centre.

Amid the mounting anger, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Thursday that no word was banned from use in Parliament but only expunged based on context and all Members were free to express their views.

“No word or phrase has been banned in Parliament. Members of Parliament have full freedom to express themselves on the floor of the House. The process of identifying unparliamentary words, based on words expunged in Parliament or assemblies, had started since 1954,” Birla said.

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