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No freedom of speech inside or outside Parliament: Mallikarjun Kharge

Ranchi : Hitting out at the BJP-led government at the Centre, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday alleged there was no freedom of speech in the country.

Addressing a rally in Jharkhand’s Sahebganj district, Kharge expressed anguish, claiming that parts of his speech in Parliament were expunged.

“There is neither freedom of speech inside Parliament, nor outside.

If someone speaks the truth, writes about it, shows it then they (BJP) send him or her behind the bars,” he alleged.

The Congress president was speaking at Gumani Ground in Pakur after launching the party’s 60-day ‘Haath Se Haath Jodo’ mass outreach programme in the state.

“I did not use any unparliamentary word or language to describe the prime minister. Atal Bihari Vajpayee had used the same expression for former PM PV Narasimha Rao and the BJP used it for former PM Manmohan Singh,” Kharge said.

The Congress president also came down heavily on the BJP over the Adani issue.

“Adani, who is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s friend, has assets worth Rs 13 lakh crore now. His assets were worth Rs 1 lakh crore in 2019,” he claimed.

“The PM works for him (Adani) and not for the poor,” Kharge alleged, claiming that Rs 16,000 crore was given by LIC to the Adani Group, and Rs 82,000 crore was given by the SBI.

When Rahul Gandhi raised this issue in Parliament it was also expunged, he said.

“BJP inducts many MLAs who face ED, IT, CBI cases. Modi and Shah have bought a washing machine in which they wash the blemishes of such MLAs who then come out clean,” he said.

Alleging that PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were “experts” in toppling elected governments, Kharge said, “They then talk about democracy.

Why don’t you govern according to the Constitution written by Baba Saheb Ambedkar?” He said the BJP came to power in 2014 with the promise to stem inflation, but the price of essential commodities and poverty are on the rise ever since it formed the government.

Kharge said that it was Congress which developed the infrastructure of the country and fought for India’s freedom.

He appealed to the people to vote for Bajrang Mahto, the UPA candidate for the Ramgarh bypoll that will be held on February 27.

During the ‘Haath Se Haath Jodo’ programme, Congress workers will conduct door-to-door visits to make people aware of the Centre’s policies, which they claim are “anti-people”.

Congress general secretary Avinash Pandey, state Congress president Rajesh Thakur and state minister Alamgir Alam were among the leaders present at the rally.