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Birla, Dhankhar object to opp’s allegation about switching off their mikes

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New Delhi, July 1: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday took exception to allegations by opposition members that their microphones are turned off when they are speaking in the House and said the presiding officers do not have any switch or remote control to turn off the mikes of MPs.
Birla strongly objected to some members in Lok Sabha casting aspersions on the Chair by alleging that when they rise to speak in the House, their microphones are turned off by the presiding officers.
The allegation about the Chair turning the microphone off was a matter of utmost concern, the Speaker said, adding that he wanted the House to deliberate on the issue.
“The Chair only gives ruling/directives. The member whose name is called gets to speak in the House. The mike is controlled as per the directives of the Chair. The person sitting in the Chair does not have a remote control or a switch for the microphones,” he said. Birla said the members of all political parties have representation on the panel of chairpersons who preside over the proceedings in the absence of the Speaker.
“This is a matter of the dignity of the Chair. At least those who occupy the Chair should not raise such objections. (K) Suresh also occupies the Chair. Does the Chair have control of the mike?” the Speaker said, addressing the Congress veteran.
Later in the day, Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi again raised the issue, asking as to who controls the microphone.
“My question is… who has the control of the mike,” he asked while speaking on the motion of thanks to the President’s address. Responding to Gandhi, the Speaker said he did not have any button to switch off the microphone. “This has been raised several times… you are the Leader of Opposition, you say outside Parliament too that the mike is switched off. I don’t have any button to switch off the microphone. There existed a similar set-up earlier. There is no mechanism to gag the microphone “I have requested several times that such allegations should not be raised against the Chair,” Birla said.
Last week, Gandhi claimed that his microphone was switched off as he tried to raise the issue of NEET irregularities. Dhankhar’s remarks on the matter in Rajya Sabha came up when the Leader of Opposition in the Upper House Mallikarjun Kharge was speaking on the motion and there were some interruptions. “I take strong exception to this kind of statement by Pramod Tiwari. What does he mean by ‘mike band kar diya’…. you only want to do these optics… it is automatic. What is this.. can’t understand simple technology. “Nobody has the right to shut this mike…. those who spread such misconceptions, tainting Parliament, demeaning diminishing our institutions,” the Chairman said.
As the uproar continued, Dhankhar added, “Mr Kharge, you know it is mechanically controlled. When I speak, no one else’s mike will be on. It is clear, it is the concept. You know it more than me… others should learn from you.” (PTI)

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