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NDA MPs' 'Stand-Up' Gesture In solidarity With Vice President

New Delhi: 

Amid the row over a Trinamool MP's mimicry of Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Rajya Sabha MPs belonging to the BJP and its allies today staged a unique protest to show solidarity with the Vice-President. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said NDA members would stand in the House for an hour to express support to Mr Dhankhar, Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman. 

"We strongly condemn this. There are crossing all limits. They are repeatedly insulting people on constitutional posts. They have been insulting the Prime Minister for 20 years because he comes from a humble background and the OBC community. They insulted the President because she is a tribal woman. You are a farmer's son. For the first time, someone from the Jat community became Vice-President. They have insulted this post. We are making it clear, we will not tolerate the insult of the Vice-President and the Constitution," Mr Joshi said. 

"So, in your honour and to protest against them, we will stand and participate in the question and answer session," he added. 

A video of Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee mimicking the Vice-President on Parliament premises has raised a political storm. Mr Banerjee is among the 141 Opposition MPs suspended for demanding a statement by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the Parliament security breach last week. Yesterday, while protesting near Makar Dwar to the new Parliament building, the Serampore MP started mimicking the Vice-President. Other MPs were seen laughing as Mr Banerjee imitated Mr Dhankhar's gestures. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was seen filming the act.

Soon after, Mr Dhankhar said in Rajya Sabha that he had seen the video and was "deeply pained". Addressing senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, he said, "Imagine what I felt when a senior leader of your party, an MP, was filming an act making fun of me, a personal attack."

"This is not just the insult of a farmer or a community, it's disrespect to the post of Rajya Sabha chairman. And that too by a party that ruled the country for so long," he said. 

The Congress's official Instagram handle, he said, had posted the video, but later took it down. "This is shameful. You used an official handle to humiliate me for my farmer background, to humiliate me as a Jat, to humiliate my position. This is very serious," Mr Dhankhar said.

The BJP, under fire for the unprecedented suspension spree of Opposition MPs, used the mimicry video to hit back. Union ministers Kiren Rijiju and Piyush Goyal, and the party's official X handle, termed Mr Banerjee's mimicry a "contemptible act".

"If the country was wondering why opposition MPs were suspended, here is the reason... TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee mocked Honourable Vice President, while Rahul Gandhi lustily cheered him on. One can imagine how reckless and violative they have been of the House!" the BJP's official handle posted.

Sharing a video showing Mr Gandhi recording Mr Banerjee's mimicry, Mr Goyal posted, "For the record - Congress supports those who RIDICULE a constitutional position!"

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