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Govt can't suppress my voice in Parliament: Chidambaram

Source: PTI
Last updated on: December 05, 2019 16:53 IST

Congress leader P Chidambaram, who has been released from Tihar Jail on bail after 106 days in custody in the INX Media money-laundering case, was present in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

IMAGE: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram addresses the media at Parliament during the ongoing Winter session. Photograph: Kamal Singh/PTI Photo

Chidambaram, who walked out of jail on Wednesday night, joined other Congress MPs voicing their protest against the steep hike in onion prices and said he was happy to be back.

 

"The government cannot suppress my voice in Parliament," the Rajya Sabha MP told reporters in Parliament complex before the proceedings of the Upper House.

When asked to comment on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's comment that her family didn't eat onion much, Chidambaram quipped, ""Does she eat avocado?"

IMAGE: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram attends Parliament, a day after he was released from Tihar Jail. Photograph: Kamal Singh/PTI Photo

Speaking at a press conference later, Chidambaram said that his comments on the finance minister was not "sarcastic".

"I was not sarcastic, I was quoting her. They should have planned in advance, what is the point of importing (onion) now, when will they arrive. But if the finance minister says I don't eat onions, that shows the mindset of this government," he said.

When the former Union finance minister entered the Upper House to attend the proceedings, he was greeted by party colleagues Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, while Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien greeted him saying: "Welcome back Sir".

IMAGE: Congress leaders P Chidambaram, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and others stage a protest against hike in onion prices at Parliament during the ongoing Winter session. Photograph: Kamal Singh/PTI Photo

Chidambaram returned the greetings and sat on his regular seat in the second row of the Opposition bench beside Sharma.

He asked for business scheduled from the staff and went through it carefully till papers were laid in the House.

The Congress leader was seen listening to the proceedings attentively till the House was adjourned till noon as the Chair disallowed members to raise issues that were not listed for Zero Hour.

IMAGE: Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu conducts proceedings of the House during the Winter Session of Parliament in New Delhi. Congress leader P Chidambaram (first row in white shawl) is seen attending the session. Photograph: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court granted him bail in the INX Media case, saying the claims by the Enforcement Directorate that he could tamper with evidence cannot be accepted on face value as he was neither in political power nor holds any post in the government.

The apex court has restrained the 74-year-old leader from either giving media interviews or any public comment in connection with the case regarding him or other co-accused.

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