New Delhi, February 8
Amid high drama and layered discussion in the Rajya Sabha, which witnessed unprecedented nudging by the chair and members of the ruling BJP, Leader of Opposition in the House Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday demanded a JPC probe into the allegations against the Adani Group, and asked if the rise of the industrialist was a result of his friendship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
‘Close friend’ charge
In 2014, the PM had said ‘na khaunga, na khane dunga’. Was it a jumla? The wealth of a close friend of PM Narendra Modi has grown 13 times in two-and-a-half years. Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress Chief
Kharge is levelling an allegation about an association which absolutely has no basis. He is talking of a purported wealth which does not have any merit. Piyush Goyal, Union Minister
During the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address, Leader of the House Piyush Goyal and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman objected to “insinuations” against the Prime Minister, who was also present in the House.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar asked Opposition members not to use the platform of Parliament to make “anti-national” statements based on foreign reports. To this, the Opposition members voiced a strong objection for questioning their patriotism.
“In 2014, the Prime Minister had said ‘na khaunga, na khane dunga’ (neither will I be corrupt, nor allow others to be corrupt). Was it a jumla?” Congress president Kharge asked. Without naming Gautam Adani, who is in the middle of a political storm after the US-based Hindenburg Research’s adverse report triggered a meltdown in the group’s shares in the stock market wiping out billions of dollars in market value, the Leader of Opposition said the wealth of a “close friend” of Modi had grown 13 times in two-and-a-half years.
The individual’s wealth had gone up from Rs 50,000 crore in 2014 to Rs 1 lakh crore in 2019, Kharge alleged, and wondered what miracle happened in two years that wealth of Rs 12 lakh crore had been acquired by him. He asked if it was because of the friendship.
Dhankhar intervened and said the discourse could not stoop to allegations which were not substantiated or to the use of “loose expressions” and casting of aspersions without any basis.
Goyal also intervened and said Kharge was making an unsubstantiated allegation about “an association which absolutely has no basis”.
“He is talking of a purported wealth which does not have any merit. That is a share market valuation, in which the government has no role to play. It is for the regulators to see and for the share market participants to decide what value they give,” Goyal asserted.
Sitharaman also objected to Kharge’s statement. “It is one thing to say it is valuation, don’t you understand? Please, alright, quote the valuation but they are subtly and overtly repeatedly insinuating the honourable PM, that’s what we are objecting to,” she asserted.
Dhankhar said any comments made in the House should be in national interest and should be authenticated. It cannot be an allegation without substance, he added.
Opposition members then jointly asked the Chairman to point out the anti-national comments that Kharge had made.
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