Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday hit back at the government for raising Rahul Gandhi's democracy remarks in Parliament and demanding an apology from him, saying those "crushing" democracy are talking of saving it.
Kharge, who took out a protest march from Parliament House complex to Vijay Chowk along with MPs of other opposition parties, including those of the BRS, Left parties and AAP, charged there was no rule of law and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was running the country like a "dictator".
The protest march was taken out after the BJP launched an offensive against Gandhi for allegedly defaming India by his remarks on democracy in London.
Gandhi had recently alleged in London that the structures of Indian democracy are under “brutal attack” and there is a full-scale assault on the institutions of the country.
Kharge said the Leader of the House cannot raise the matter concerning the member of the other House as it was against the rules and the issue can only be raised in the House of which Gandhi is a member.
Talking to reporters at Vijay Chowk, Kharge said, "They (BJP) are crushing and destroying democracy and are talking of saving democracy and the country's pride. There is no place for the Constitution in Modi ji's regime."
"They are 'suppressing' opposition parties through 'misuse' of agencies. These people are talking about democracy, nationalism and the country's pride. This is like 'ulta chor kotwal ko daante' (pot calling the kettle black)," the Congress chief alleged.
While defending Gandhi's remarks, he claimed that autonomous bodies in the country were being suppressed and democracy is being "crushed" under the BJP regime.
Kharge alleged that PM Modi has "ridiculed" India abroad several times and cited examples of his speeches in China, South Korea, Canada, UAE.
"I want to remind you of your statement made in China. You said - 'Earlier, you felt ashamed of being born Indian. Now you feel proud to represent the country'.
Was this not an insult to India and Indians? Tell your Ministers to refresh their memories," Kharge said.
He also referred to the remarks made by Prime Minister Modi in South Korea.
"In South Korea, you had said - There was a time when people used to feel that what sin they committed in their past life which resulted in taking birth in India, is this what you call a country...," the Congress leader said.
"First see the ‘Mirror of Truth’, before lecturing the Congress party!" he said, adding if the prime minister can say all kinds of things against India, why is it a crime if Rahul Gandhi does so.
Kharge alleged that all this is being done by the government to divert attention from the Adani-Hindenburg issue.
"We are demanding a JPC on the Adani issue. The government is trying to divert attention from this...We are together and will continue to demand JPC on the Adani issue," he said.
The Leader of Opposition also alleged that he was being discriminated against in the Rajya Sabha as the Leader of the House was allowed to speak for 10 minutes but when he rose, the House was adjourned after two minutes.
AICC general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, "Parliament has been adjourned this morning till 2pm because of the Govt's continued refusal to agree to a JPC on the PM-linked Adani 'Maha Mega Scam' and on unwarranted remarks made by Ministers against Rahul Gandhi".
Sanjay Singh (AAP) alleged that opposition leaders were being troubled only to divert the attention from the Adani 'scam'.
Elamaram Kareem (CPI-M), Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD), Priyanka Chaturvedi (SS-UBT), K Kesava Rao (BRS) also alleged that opposition leaders were being harassed and demanded that a JPC be ordered to probe the Adani issue.
Opposition parties earlier met in the chamber of Leader of Opposition to coordinate their strategy in Parliament.
This is the first day of the second part of the Budget session of Parliament.