Tale of privilege motions: Narendra Modi vs Rahul Gandhi in Parliament set to cause shock-waves during monsoon session

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Rahul Gandhi had talked about bringing earthquake through his speech in Parliament but it seems that the Congress Presidents monologue during the no-confidence motion debate last week has become a gateway for moving a raft of privilege motions in the House. A notice for privilege motion has been moved against Gandhi by four BJP MPs in Lok Sabha even as senior Congress leaders have indicated that the Congress may bring a privilege motion against PM Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Four BJP lawmakers – Nishikant Dubey, Anurag Thakur, Dushyant Singh and Prahlad Joshi- have submitted the privilege notice against Gandhi accusing him of misleading Parliament by making false allegations against the PM and Defence Minister. As soon as the Question Hour got over, Dubey said a privilege motion has been moved by his party. Whenever Rahul Gandhi speaks, it only helps in increasing the votes of BJP, he said. While Congress started protesting in the lower House, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said she would examine the motion. I will look into it and then let you know, she said. The allegations relate to Gandhis speech during the debate on the no-confidence motion on Friday in which he had raised the issue of a secrecy clause in the Rafale fighter jet deal with France. The Congress chief had also accused the Prime Minister of benefiting one industrialist in the deal. The BJP has also objected to Gandhis comments regarding betrayal the Indian Army in Doklam, and dubbed them as unsubstantiated charges. Later Congress had hit back accusing PM Modi and Defence Minister Sitharaman of lying in Parliament on the Rafale deal, saying there was no secrecy clause in a 2008 Indo-French pact that binds the government from revealing price details of the jets, charges termed as falsehood by the BJP. Former defence minister A K Antony, EX-Union Minister Anand Sharma and Randeep Surjewala said on Monday revealing the commercial cost of Rafale aircraft will neither violate any secrecy agreement with the French government, nor disclose any classified or protected information. PM Modi sought to hide behind a cloak of pseudo-nationalism in the Rafale deal during the debate on the no-confidence motion in Parliament on July 20. Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said that the party was seeking advice from legal experts on the issue of bringing privilege motion against PM and Sitharaman. The BJP has categorically rejected the charges levelled by the Congress on the Rafale deal as a collective singing of falsehood to defend Rahul Gandhi, who, it said, was prima facie guilty of breach of privilege for misleading the Lok Sabha. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad rejected the Congress threat of a breach of privilege motion against Prime Minister Modi and Defence Minister Sitharaman as an act of misplaced bravado. In his address during the debate on the no-confidence motion against the government on Friday, Gandhi had said that French President Macron had told him during a meeting that there was no secrecy pact that forces India from revealing price details of the Rafale aircraft. After Gandhis remarks, the French Foreign Ministry said France had signed a security pact with India in 2008 which legally binds the two countries to protect the classified information which could impact security and operational capabilities of the defence equipment. In his reply to the motion, PM Modi asked Gandhi to not make such childish allegations on such sensitive issues.