Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Newly Re-elected Speaker Om Birla’s Statement On Emergency Triggers Protests, Adjournment – N.F Times

New Delhi: Smiles and handshakes between rivals followed the re-election of Om Birla as Lok Sabha Speaker today. The rare moment of bonhomie was, however, short-lived and chaos returned after the newly-elected Speaker mentioned the “dark days of Emergency” and called for 2-minute silence.

“The democratic values of India were crushed, and freedom of expression was strangled…India is known all over the world as the mother of democracy. Democratic values and debate have always been supported in India. Democratic values have always been protected and encouraged,” he added.

Birla also observed a two-minute silence in the memory of those who lost their lives during the Emergency period.

This caused the Opposition to break into protests and sloganeering in the Parliament.

The Lok Sabha elected Om Birla as the Speaker by a voice vote.

Following Birla’s election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated him and said he looks forward to the Speaker’s guidance for the next five years.

“Your sweet smile keeps the entire House happy…The previous Lok Sabha passed several path-breaking legislations under your leadership,” PM Modi told Birla while addressing the Lok Sabha.

Soon after Mr Birla, a three-time MP, was re-elected by voice vote, Leader of the Opposition Rahul Gandhi walked up and congratulated him. Mr Gandhi also shook hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Then, the two leaders, along with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju, escorted Mr Birla to the Speaker’s chair.

On the Speaker’s Emergency remark, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said it is “unfortunate” that the Speaker ended up undermining the spirit of consensus by a “divisive” statement. “This was not necessary. It was 49 years ago. If you have to go to such lengths on a day on which the message was to be one of cooperation and consensus, that’s unfortunate,” he said.

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