Former Prime Minister of India, HD Deve Gowda took oath on Sunday as a member of the Rajya Sabha. This, after he lost the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from the Tumakuru constituency and his party nominated him to the Upper House. But his maiden speech as the newly sworn-in member of Rajya Sabha was marred with constant interruptions and the Speaker of the House, Deputy Chairman Harivansh, also urged him repeatedly to conclude 10-minute speech, even asking the next speaker to start while Deve Gowda was still speaking.
His party, JD(S) took strong umbrage to the incident and called it an insult to Karnataka. TA Sharavana, JD(S) spokesperson said, “There are just two former two Prime Ministers in Rajya Sabha, Manmohan Singh and Deve Gowda. Kannadigas are not getting respected anymore, even in the committee for culture constituted, there were no south Indians. The Union Government takes Karnataka for granted, the state gave them 25 MPs but still they don’t have any concern for us.”
Deve Gowda started his speech talking about farmers issues viz-a-viz the contentious farm bills in the Parliament. While Gowda was talking about his experience as a politician handling issues of farmers, by the fourth minute, the Speaker started asking him to conclude his speech. Many members of the ruling government too were heard heckling the 87-year-old Deve Gowda, asking that he wrap his speech.
“It is great that even at this age, he is there to represent our state. The Union government and the BJP MPs did not even allow him to deliver his speech and express his opinions. They kept asking him to stop talking and sit down, kept interrupting. This is not just an insult to Deve Gowda, but to all Kannadigas. This is why we ask the voters to always vote a regional party to power, we have always taken up issues that are important to the people of the state and not succumb to high command pressure like other national parties.” added Sharavana.
Earlier in the day, Deve Gowda had taken oath in Kannada and greeted the chair with folded hands. The 87-year-old leader, was in June elected to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka. This is the first time that the JD(S) leader has become a member of the Upper House since 1996.
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had remarked after Deve Gowda’s swearing-in-ceremony that he is a “good addition to our House”.
“Former prime minister and one of the senior-most leaders of our country has come to our House,” he said.