Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla again, seeking permission to speak in the Lower House on allegations levelled at him by the Government and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

He wrote: “I had written to you on 17 March seeking your permission to respond to totally baseless and unfair charges hurled at me by senior ministers in the Lok Sabha.”

“I am making such a request again. I am seeking this permission under the conventions of Parliamentary practice, the constitutionally embedded rules of natural justice and Rule 357 of the Rules and Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha,” he said.

He said that Rule 357 of the Rules and Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha allows him to respond to the allegations in Parliament.

Citing Rule 357, Mr Gandhi stated “A member may, with the permission of the speaker, make a personal explanation although there is no question before the House, in this case, no debatable matter may be brought forward, and no debate shall arise.”

The Congress leader called the allegations against him as “scurrilous” and “defamatory.” He wrote in the letter “Members of the ruling regime have made scurrilous and defamatory claims against me both within and outside Parliament.”

As a result of these allegations, and the rules invoked by these individuals, it is only appropriate that the Speaker gives him a right to reply as contained in Rule 357 which allows for personal explanations, he wrote.

Gandhi’s remarks became a flashpoint between Congress and the BJP after he levelled serious allegations against the Centre in speeches during his recent visit to the United Kingdom.

The Statesman