Govt ‘misled’ President Murmu: Karti Chidambaram

New Delhi, Feb 7 (PTI) The government “misled” President Droupadi Murmu and made her say things “completely divorced” from reality during her address to a joint sitting of Parliament, Congress member Karti Chidambaram alleged in Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Participating in the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address, the Shivaganga MP hit out at the Centre over its claim about the country witnessing “Amrit Kaal” and said the only thing that “we are getting in this Amrit Kaal is propaganda and, with this excess propaganda, all we are going to get is poison”.

“The President’s address is settled by the government. The President reads out what the government prepares for her (address)… With all responsibility, I would like to charge the government for misleading and deceiving the President,” Chidambaram said.

“The President read out what was given to her by the government. But the reality (of) what (the) President read out and what it is (is) very different,” Chidambaram said, adding that by government he meant the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Congress member alleged that the government misled the President on “every issue” and cited some of the points from her speech which, according to him, were different from reality.

“The President said India’s eternal journey as the mother of democracy is filled with infinite pride. What is the reality? Opposition is stifled, voices of dissent squealed, agencies are let out on political opponents, governments are disturbed, Raj Bhavans are used to destabilise elected governments, there is horse trading,” he charged.

“This is the reality of Indian democracy today. But the President was misled into believing we are the mother of democracy and our hearts are filled with pride,” Chidambaram added.

President Murmu said her government is constantly trying to rid every sign of “slave mentality”, Chidambaram noted.

“But this government uses every colonial tool like sedition to quell dissent. This is the country where 154 journalists have been arrested, detained, interrogated or served show cause notice,” he charged.

India ranks below Mexico, Afghanistan and Yemen in the list of countries which treat the media “badly”, he said, adding that “here again the President has been misled by her own government”.

Chidambaram also targeted the Centre over allegations of fraud against the Adani Group, saying the government could have “easily addressed the concerns and put to an end the controversy” but did not say one word and “misled the President once again without addressing the issue which is of grave concern today”.

The Congress member noted that President Murmu in her address said India has built a Bharat where the youth is well ahead of time but the reality is different.

“As many as 33 lakh children are malnourished in the country. The ASER (Annual Status of Education Report) report says reading and arithmetic skills of Indian children have gone down.

“Economic survey report of this government says only 3.3 per cent of the working-age population have any professional vocational training. ILO (International Labour Organization) says 25 per cent of Indian youth are unemployed,” he said.

In the last eight years, 22 crore people applied for government jobs but only 7.2 lakh could get it, he said.

“The President said a major achievement of her government has been the empowerment of women. The President used the words Nari Shakti and women 20 times in her speech. But what does this government do? It releases the rapist of Bilkis Bano (from jail),” he charged.

The Congress leader called the Centre’s BharatNet project, which seeks to connect panchayats with WiFi, the biggest scam and demanded that a Joint Parliamentary Committee be set up to conduct a probe into it.

“We need to investigate what is happening in this BharatNet project. I challenge every Member of Parliament here to stand up and say whether any panchayat in his or her constituency has got WiFi facility through this BharatNet,” he added.