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Om Birla says won’t allow religious chants in house

Newly-elected Lok Sabha Om Birla on Wednesday said that he would not allow a repeat of the shouting of religious slogans or heckling in the House, as witnessed during the swearing-in of some opposition MPs on Tuesday.

After his unanimous election as Speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha, in an interview to Hindustan Times, Birla said, “I don’t think Parliament is the place for sloganeering, for showing placards, or for coming to the well. There is a road for that where they can go and demonstrate. Whatever people want to say here, whatever allegations they have, however they want to attack the government they can, but they can’t come to the gallery and do all this.’’

Talking on heckling in the House, Birla said he doesn’t know if it will happen again or not but he would try to run the Parliament by the rules. He said: “Jai Shri Ram slogans, Jai Bharat, Vande Mataram, I said this was an old issue. During a debate, it is different. Every time, there are different circumstances. What are the circumstances is decided by the person sitting in the speaker’s chair.”

The issue of sloganeering was mentioned by the Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, and he said, “I don’t think this is in the spirit of multi-party democracy.’’

Responding to Chowdhury’s statement, Birla said: “I am very clear on this. Parliament is a temple of democracy. This temple always functions by parliamentary rules. I have requested all parties that we should maintain the decorum of this place as much as we can. We are the largest democracy in the world, everyone looks up to us. In the same way, our parliamentary procedures should also set an example across the world.’’

Birla, a two-term MP from Kota in Rajasthan, was a surprise pick for the speaker’s post by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance. He was elected unanimously after the Opposition decided not to field a candidate of its own.

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