India's parliament redacts parts of opposition leader Gandhi's speech

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Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi's first speech in the new parliament ran into controversy with parts of it, including accusations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party, redacted on Tuesday for violating the rules of the legislature.

The decision by the speaker of the lower house came a day after Gandhi made his maiden speech as the leader of the opposition in the chambers, his first official position after two decades as a lawmaker representing the main opposition Congress party.

Among the sections removed from the speech, which was telecast live by TV channels, were Gandhi's attacks on Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and what he said were their links to religious hate and violence.

Gandhi also made multiple references to industrialists Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani and linked them to Modi and his government, which were removed by speaker Om Birla, parliament records showed.

Following the speech, federal ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Kiren Rijiju told reporters that they met Birla to point out "inaccuracies" in Gandhi's speech and were assured their complaint would be examined.

Under Indian parliamentary rules, the speaker can expunge or redact words used by lawmakers in the chambers that are deemed defamatory, indecent, unparliamentary, or undignified, following which they cease to exist in parliament's records and can no longer be reported by the media.

Responding to the speaker's decision, Gandhi said "truth cannot be expunged".

He wrote to Birla requesting the redacted remarks be restored, saying they were not violations and conveyed the "ground reality" and "factual position".

"Taking off from records my considered remarks goes against the very tenets of parliamentary democracy," he said.

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