Mr Kharge spoke on several issues, exceeding the allotted time.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge today complained to Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar that the Opposition doesn't get enough chances to put forth their views on various subjects inside the house, and requested that the cameras inside the parliament, which live-telecast the proceedings, should focus equally on the opposition MPs when they are speaking.
"We don't get the chance outside. We do here, so please let us have it," he said while addressing the Rajya Sabha on the first day of the special session of the Parliament on Monday. All MPs should have the freedom to speak even if he himself might be wrong at times, Mr Kharge told Mr Dhankhar. "Even for my small mistakes, you punish me harshly. They (BJP MPs) make such huge mistakes, the entire country watches, but you forgive everything. I request you to balance both," he said.
What's mentioned here on the record sends a message outside too, that the people's issues are being discussed, he said, adding that the 'constitutional work' that the MPs do in the house should get encouragement from him and also from the government.
"You are our guardian. If there's any injustice against us, you are the one who is supposed to protect us. We are so few in number, if all of them (ruling coalition NDA's MPs) start attacking us then we will come crying to you," he said in a light-hearted exchange with Mr Dhankhar, stressing his protection is needed.
Mallikarjun Kharge also spoke about the ethnic violence in Manipur, saying the opposition tried alot for the PM to make a statement on it in the house. Mr Dhankhar said he, too, tried to initiate a discussion on Manipur in the house. "The problem is that the PM doesn't even listen to you," Mr Kharge shot back, adding that whenever the opposition looks at him, he looks at them (BJP leaders). Mr Dhankhar promptly countered, saying "main majboor nahin, majboot hoon (I am not helpless, I am strengthened)."
Mr Kharge said bills aren't sent to Standing Committees for review anymore, which should be done. "This is your right. To flag issues in the bills, and send them to the Standing Committees," he said. The Congress president pointed out that 71% of the bills were sent to Standing Committtees during 2009 to 2014, when the UPA was in power. It went down to 27% in 2014-2019, and sunk further to 13% then onwards.
The Congress president started his address with a Hindi poem taking a swipe at the Centre.
"If you want to change something, then change the situation
What is accomplished by changing names like this?
If you want to give something, give employment to the youth
What is accomplished by making everyone unemployed?
Try expanding your heart a little
What is accomplished by killing people?
If you can't do anything, leave your chair.
What is accomplished by scaring each other?
You are proud of your rule
What is accomplished by bullying people?" he read out from a paper.
The strong foundation stones that support a structure are not visible to anyone, only the name on the wall is, Mr Kharge said in an apparent jibe at PM Modi, without naming him.
He also said that the government was focusing on weakening the "strong" Opposition through central agencies like CBI and ED.
"Nehru ji believe that the absence of a strong Opposition means that there are significant drawbacks in the system. If there is no strong Opposition, it is not right. Now, that there is a strong Opposition, focus is on weakening it through ED, CBI...Take them (into their own party), put them in a washing machine and when they come out all clean - make them permanent (in one's own party). You can see what is happening today. PM comes to the Parliament rarely and when he does he leaves after making it an event," Mr Kharge said.
Remembering Jawaharlal Nehru and his contribution to nation-building, the Congress Chief said, "Nehru ji led India during difficult times. He was in jail for 14 years for the independence of India. Nothing new will happen if we shift to a new parliament...'. The BJP should stop saying (demeaning) things about him, he said.
Mr Kharge also alleged that PM Modi has given statements just twice in the Lok Sabha, and compared the figure with former Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh.
"Atal Bihari Vajpayee gave statement 21 times, Manmohan Singh gave 30 times during their tenure," Mr Kharge said. "However, apart from few 'custormary comments', PM Modi gave his statement only twice," he added.