British PM Rishi Sunak (Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images) and Indian PM Narendra Modi (Photo by Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images)
INDIAN opposition leader and parliamentarian P Chidambaram on Wednesday (13) slammed the Narendra Modi government citing a recent debate in the British parliament where prime minister Rishi Sunak ‘promptly’ replied to ‘hard questions’ hurled at him by the opposition over his discussion with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during the recent G20 summit in New Delhi and wished such a scene could be witnessed in the Indian parliament as well.
The veteran leader, who has been India’s finance and home minister when his Indian National Congress was in power, also said such debates were normal when Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first prime minister, was in office.
On Monday (11), Sunak told his country’s lawmakers about his meeting with the Indian prime minister on the sidelines of the G20 summit. He informed the House of Commons that he had ‘warm and productive’ discussions with Modi on the free-trade agreement between the two countries. He also highlighted his three key aims during the visit that included strengthening ties with New Delhi, climate action and increasing diplomatic pressure on Russian president Vladimir Putin over the war in Ukraine.
Putin was absent at the G20 summit.
The opposition members also asked the Conservative leader about Jagtar Johal, the British Sikh activist who is in an Indian jail on serious charges. Sunak said he spoke about it with Modi and assured that London ‘remains committed to seeing a resolution to the case’.
The 77-year-old Chidambaram, a member of the Rajya Sabha or Upper House of the Indian parliament who had presented India’s Dream Budget in 1997, also suggested reading the debate that took place in the House of Commons and praised the way it took place within hours after the British prime minister returned home.
Modi is accused by his opponents of running his government in an undemocratic way. His administration is also accused of using unbridled political power to undermine democratic freedoms of religious minorities and the press.
The opposition has also criticised the government over a special session that the latter convened on September 18, saying the agenda of the session was kept secret.