A Member of Parliament can no longer be ashamed, feel betrayed or call out rampant ‘corruption’ on record within the Houses. This morning, a booklet was made public by the Lok Sabha secretariat. It was a list of words that are banned on the floors of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
The Opposition was quick to condemn the ‘gag order’, even before the Centre could clarify that the list is not a new one, but has been updated to add a few to the already existing inventory of words that are considered ‘unparliamentary’ inside Parliament.
The Congress and the Trinamool Congress, at loggerheads on most days, were the first to tweet their discontent, saying that all terms, used by the Opposition to describe the Modi dispensation, are now “unparliamentary”.
“Who will be afraid of ‘Jumlajeevi’ (one) who has given jumlas. Who will be afraid of the word ‘Jaichand’ – (one) who has betrayed the country. Words are not being banned in Parliament. The fear of PM Modi is coming out,” Congress tweeted from its official account.
“All words used by the Opposition to describe the reality of Modi Sarkar are now considered ‘unparliamentary’. What next Vishguru,” tweeted Jairam Naresh, Congress’s Rajya Sabha MP.
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Sharing a news report, Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala wrote: “Saheb knows his qualities very well.”
“Interestingly, the words that have received the new tag of UNPARLIAMENTARY are all adjectives used for the incumbent. Is this a preemptive step to prevent shame? Forced praises are clearly not coming BJP’s way. When they begin to lose the plot, they cry foul!” Trinamool Congress said in a tweet.
Terming the booklet a ‘gag order’, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien wrote: “Session begins in a few days. GAG ORDER ISSUED ON MPs. Now, we will not be allowed to use these basic words while delivering a speech in #Parliament: Ashamed. Abused. Betrayed. Corrupt. Hypocrisy. Incompetent. I will use all these words. Suspend me. Fighting for democracy.”
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The party’s firebrand MP, known for her prolific addresses in the Lok Sabha, Mahua Moitra tweeted: “My first of new Twitter series on replacements for unparliamentary words. Banned word: Sexual Harassment. Replacement- Mr. Gogoi.”
This jibe was preceded by: “Baith jaiye. Baith Jaiye. Prem se boliye. New list of unparliamentary words for LS & RS does not include Sanghi. Basically govt has taken all words used by opposition to describe how BJP destroying India & banned them (sic).”
One of the most strongly-worded blows was dealt by actor-politician Kamal Haasan. “Mr Hitler, this is not Germany!” read a poster featuring the actor.
Along with it came a statement from his party, the Makkal Needhi Maiam. “This is a typical act of choking democracy and freedom of expression. Pointing out any discrepancy is a privilege of democracy and if that is not permitted, it is a direct mockery of our Constitution,” it read.
In Bihar, Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janta Dal, the main opposition in the state, said: “Will get riots done outside, will rot journalists and social workers in jails, will destroy the future of youth, but will become ‘saints’ as soon as entering Parliament, will be hurt even by simple criticism!”
As a barrage of tweets flooded the micro-blogging site, the Centre put out a clarification. Members are free to express their views and no words have been banned in Parliament, Speaker Om Birla said.
“It’s a routine practice continuing since 1959. No words have been banned. Members are free to express their views. No one can snatch that right [away from members] but [expression of views] should be as per decorum of Parliament,” the Speaker explained.
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“Earlier, a book of such unparliamentary words used to be released. To avoid wastage of paper, we have put it on the internet. No words have been banned, we have issued a compilation of the words that have been expunged,” he added.
Birla further said that the decision to expunge certain words was taken keeping in mind objections raised by certain members of Parliament. “Words that have been expunged have been used in the Parliament by the Opposition as well as the party in power. Nothing like selective expunging of words used by only the Opposition,” the Speaker said at a press conference.
The Lok Sabha secretariat’s booklet termed the use of words like ‘jumlajeevi’, ‘baal buddhi’, ‘Covid spreader’ and ‘Snoopgate’ and even commonly used words like ‘ashamed’, ‘abused, ‘betrayed’, ‘corrupt’, ‘drama’, ‘hypocrisy’, and ‘incompetent’ as “unparliamentary” in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
The diktat came ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament, slated to begin on July 18. Words like ‘anarchist’, ‘shakuni‘, ‘dictatorial’, ‘taanashah‘, ‘taanashahi‘, ‘Jaichand’, ‘vinash purush‘, ‘Khalistani‘ and ‘khoon se kheti‘ would also be expunged if used during debates or otherwise in Parliament.
Words listed as unparliamentary include ‘anarchist’, ‘gaddar‘, ‘girgit‘ (chameleon), ‘goons’, ‘ghadiyali ansu‘ (crocodile tears), ‘apmaan‘ (disrespect), ‘asatya‘ (untruth), ‘ahankaar‘ (vanity), ‘corrupt’, ‘kala din‘ (black day), ‘kala bazaari‘ (black marketing), and ‘khareed farokht‘.
Also Read: | This story cannot be read in Parliament
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