After voicing his anguish over a viral video in which suspended Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee was purportedly seen mocking his mannerisms, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on Sunday, December 24, 2023, stated he is a’sufferer’ who isn’t spared despite being the chairman of the Rajya Sabha and holding one of the highest public offices of the country.
During an interaction with the current batch of Indian Statistical Service (ISS) probationers at his official residence in the national capital, Dhankhar said, despite being slighted, he would never deviate from his path and principles.
“I am a sufferer. A sufferer knows how to withstand from inside; they take all upfront insults in one direction. We are in the service of our Bharat Mata (mother India). You will have to show integrity. You will have to exhibit high ethical standards. There will be pressures and counterpressures,” Dhankhar said.
During a protest over the bulk suspension of opposition MPs on the steps of the new parliament complex during the recent Winter Session, the TMC Lok Sabha MP came up with what appeared to be a crude impression of the Vice President.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi was pictured videographing the act on his phone even as fellow opposition members laughed and clapped.
“Even (a person) in my position as a constitutional head of Rajya Sabha — I am the Chairman there, I am the Vice-President of this country — people don’t spare me. Should that change my mindset? No. Should this result in a deviation from my path? No. On the path of rightness, we always must proceed,” Dhankhar said during his interaction with ISS probationers at his Delhi residence.
Banerjee’s crude impression of the Vice President stoked a major political showdown, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi dialing the Rajya Sabha Chairman to express ‘great pain’ over the ‘abject theatrics’ that he was at the receiving end of.
President Droupadi Murmu, too, expressed her dismay over the incident. The President said elected representatives, while reserving the right and freedom to express themselves, should do so within the norms of dignity and courtesy.
In the line of fire from the Treasury and the Centre, Banerjee issued a clarification saying he did not intend to hurt anyone. “I wasn’t intending to hurt anyone. I do not know why he is taking this on himself. Does he act like this in the Rajya Sabha?” the TMC MP told reporters as the mimicry row exploded.