He noted that while Nehru had included Opposition members in his first Cabinet, “aap toh hamari chhaya bhi nahi dekhna chahate ho (you don’t even want to see our shadows)”.Speaking during the discussion on “Parliamentary Journey of 75 Years Starting from Samvidhan Sabha — Achievements, Experiences, Memories and Learnings”, Kharge also urged the government to bring the women’s reservation Bill, noting that although the world has changed since the first Lok Sabha, when 5% MPs were women, even today, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha have only 10% and 14% women members, respectively.Kharge said there have been efforts to enact reservation for women legislators over the years and, addressing Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar, said if the Chairman takes up the issue, the government will respond. “We all wish the women’s reservation Bill is brought and women given what is [their] due,” he said.Later in the discussion, JD(U) MP Ram Nath Thakur, too, raised the demand. He said now that the session shifts to the new Parliament building from Tuesday, “why doesn’t the government implement 33% reservation for women”.Kharge took on Modi for not visiting the strife-torn Manipur, addressing unemployment in the country, and for his absence from Parliament.With proceedings set to shift to the new Parliament building from Tuesday, Kharge questioned the government on what would change by moving to a new space.He said: “Badalna hai toh abh halat badlo. Aise naam badalne se kya hota hai? Dena hai to yuvaon ko rozgar do, sab ko berozgar karke kya hota hai? Dil ko thhoda bada karke dekho, logon ko maarne se kya hota hai? Kuchh kar nahi sakte ho, kursi chhodh do…. Yahan se wahan jaane mein kya aur honay waala hai? (If you have to change, then change the situation. What is there in changing names? If you have to give, then give jobs to the youth. What is there in making everyone unemployed? Have a large heart, instead of killing people. If you can’t do anything, then quit…. What will happen by going from here to there?).”The Congress leader expressed concern over the speed with which Bills are being passed in Parliament and called the process “faster than the bullet train”.He said Congress leaders had fought for Independence, contributed to making the Constitution, and worked to keep democracy alive. Taking on the Prime Minister for questioning the work done under successive Congress-led governments, he said, “Baar-baar hum ko toka jaata hai, ’70 saal mein kya kia?’. Sattar saal mein toh yehi kia. Isko mazbooti di. Loktantra ko bachaya humne. [We are constantly asked what we did in 70 years. This is what we did — we strengthened it [democracy]. We kept democracy safe).”Leader of the House Piyush Goyal, who started the discussion, exhorted all members to work towards making India “corruption-free”. He recalled his own experience as a newcomer to Parliament in 2010, when then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee appreciated his maiden speech and said the Opposition had an important role to play in a democracy.Trinamool Congress member Mohd Nadimul Haque urged the government to protect federalism and not to penalise states governed by parties opposed to it politically, referring to the TMC-ruled West Bengal.AIADMK member M Thambidurai also said federalism must be protected. “This is not a House of elders. I’m not elder. This is the Council of States.”
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