Broken idols are not worshipped!

   By Vijay Darda | 11-12-2023

Those crying foul over Mahua Moitra’s expulsion need to understand that Parliament is the temple of our democracy

Vijay Darda

Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra has been expelled from the Lok Sabha in connection with the ‘cash-for-query’ case. People making political statements about this issue should understand that the actions of Mahua Moitra precipitated her removal from the Parliament. There is absolutely no need to look at this issue from a political prism. This entire matter should be viewed through the lens of Parliament’s dignity. This is what the Ethics Committee of Parliament has done.

People who support Mahua Moitra claim that there was no debate in the House about her expulsion. Three to four days should have been set aside for discussion. The point is, where is the doubt now, given that Mahua Moitra has admitted to sharing the login ID and password with a businessman, Darshan Hiranandani, for filing questions in the parliamentary portal and had taken gifts from him? Mahua was accused of accepting money and gifts from the Hiranandani group and asking questions in Parliament against the Adani Group. This allegation proved true before the Ethics Committee. Strangely, Mahua’s parliamentary account was accessed 47 times from Dubai. Of the 61 questions she asked, 50 were related to Adani Group. Just imagine, how serious a matter it is if someone sitting in Dubai logs in to the Parliament portal with the login ID and password of an MP. Mahua cannot disown responsibility by saying that there is no parliamentary portal rule prohibiting the sharing of login IDs. Every child in this country understands that login ID and password should never be shared with anyone. Doing this can result in fraud at any time. But here it was not a matter of fraud at all. Mahua deliberately shared the ID and password.

The Ethics Committee interrogated the person who made the allegations, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, the person who provided him the documents, Jai Anant Dehadrai, and Mahua Moitra, but the latter refused to cooperate. It is worth mentioning here that Jai Anant Dehadrai was once a close friend of Mahua Moitra. Mahua has described him to be her ‘disappointed’ ex-boyfriend. It is on this pretext that Mahua alleged that the Ethics Committee had started asking her personal questions. The Ethics Committee is made up of MPs from all political parties. This committee is non-political, and Mahua chose to make such allegations against it to divert attention from the real issue. The chairman of the Ethics Committee and BJP MP Vinod Kumar Sonkar also stated on record that Mahua was not cooperating in the investigation.

As far as the question of debate in Parliament about expulsion or allowing Mahua to present her case is concerned, this question no longer exists after investigation by the Ethics Committee. Mahua had ample opportunity to express her views before the Ethics Committee but she chose to play politics instead. She and those supporting her claimed that Mahua is being harassed because she is a woman. It is absurd even to derive such conclusions. This is not a question about women but the dignity of Parliament.

This is not the first time that an MP has been expelled for asking questions after accepting money. In 2005, a news channel conducted a sting operation in which MPs took money in exchange for asking questions. Some 10 members of Lok Sabha and one member of Rajya Sabha were dismissed. They included BJP’s Anna Patil, Y G Mahajan, Suresh Chandel, Pradeep Gandhi, Chandrapal and Chhatrapal Singh (Rajya Sabha), BSP’s Narendra Kushwaha, Lal Chandra, Rajaram Pal, Congress’ Ramsevak Singh and RJD’s Manoj Kumar Jha. Before that in 1951, H G Mudgal was expelled. In 1978, Indira Gandhi was also expelled by the Janata Party government. In the subsequent period, more than 42 MPs including Subramanian Swamy, Rahul Gandhi and Vijay Mallya lost their membership due to various reasons. However, Rahul’s membership was reinstated as the sentence was suspended later.

I’ve been a member of Parliament for 18 years, and individuals like me understand and feel that when you go to Parliament, you have a lot of responsibilities to fulfil, since Parliament is more than simply a building or a place for meeting and debate. Rather, it is the temple of democracy, a place of worship for the republic, where the wishes of the average man of this country come true. This is the pinnacle of faith and aspiration. In such a holy sanctuary, there can be no room for deception. Mamata Banerjee has now stated that Mahua will be given justice in the people’s court. It is possible that Mahua may return after re-election and may continue to be elected again and again, but that would not prove her untainted. I believe that one should not question the Parliament’s Ethics Committee and the government for one’s politics. Today, the BJP is in power, tomorrow some other party will be in government. The dignity of Parliament is not linked to any government. This is the collective responsibility of all parties. And it is very important to understand this.

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