Jairam Ramesh seeks breach of privilege proceedings against PM for apparent Hamid Ansari reference

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Rajya Sabha (File image)

New Delhi: Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has sought breach of privilege proceedings against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Rajya Sabha for allegedly making "derogatory" remarks against former chairman of the Upper House Hamid Ansari.

In his letter to Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar, Ramesh also alleged that no prime minister has ever attacked a former speaker of Lok Sabha or chairman of Rajya Sabha in the manner in which Modi has done.

"I wish to bring to your notice a serious incident of breach of privilege and contempt of the House on the part of the Prime Minister of India. On July 2, 2024, prime minister while replying to the discussion on the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address in Lok Sabha inter alia stated: 'No matter how many numbers they claim, when we came in 2014, our strength in the Rajya Sabha was very low, and the Chair's inclination was somewhat on the other side'," the Congress leader said.

Notwithstanding the fact that the prime minister did not specifically took the name of Ansari, needless to state that these "derogatory remarks" were attributed to the former chairman, Rajya Sabha, Ramesh said in his letter to Dhankhar, who is also the vice president.

"The accusation attributed to Dr. Hamid Ansari of 'leaning' towards the Opposition made by the prime minister is wholly unacceptable and grossly derogatory to say the least, apart from being completely false," he said.

Incidentally, this is not the first time that the prime minister has targeted former vice president Ansari, Ramesh said in his letter dated July 8.

He pointed out that on August 10, 2017, the prime minister in his farewell speech on Ansari's retirement in the Balayogi Auditorium had alluded to then retiring chairman's earlier diplomatic postings in a "mischievous manner".

"No prime minister has ever attacked a former speaker of Lok Sabha or chairman of Rajya Sabha in the manner in which Shri Narendra Modi has done," the Congress leader alleged.

The prime minister has broken all parliamentary norms, decorum and, as a matter of fact, set a new low to the dignity of the very office of the Prime Minister of India, he claimed.

"Such defamatory remarks made on the floor of Lok Sabha, attributing derogatory motives to the former Chairman of Rajva Sabha when he was not present to defend himself is tantamount to grave disregard and disrespect to the high office of the Chairman, Rajya Sabha, as well as to the Rajya Sabha itself. I, therefore, seek privilege proceedings against the prime minister in the matter," Ramesh said in his letter to Dhankhar.

While Modi did not name anyone, former vice president Ansari was the chairman of the Rajya Sabha from August 2012 to August 2017.

Last week Ramesh had said, "One thing that the non-biological PM said in the Lok Sabha on July 2nd has escaped much media notice. What he said was simply awful and unacceptable, and ought to have been immediately expunged."

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