NEW DELHI: Government on Friday appealed to the opposition in the Lok Sabha to come back after Congress, Trinamool Congress and some smaller parties walked out dissatisfied over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement on the Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti issue.
At the same time, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu singled out Congress for the attack, wondering as to under whose pressure it was working and warned that such attempts to obstruct proceedings would "boomerang".
Naidu's appeal came close on the heels of members from Congress, Left parties, IUML, BSP and AAP staging a walkout soon after Modi's statement leaving only members of AIADMK, BJD and one or two small parties in the House.
"What the Congress is doing ... under whose pressure, under whose insistence is the Congress doing such things," Naidu said, hitting out at the opposition party for alleging that the Speaker was working under pressure.
Taking a dig at Congress for harping on the Sadhvi issue, he recalled instances of leaders of Congress like Beni Prasad Verma and Mani Shankar Aiyer and Tapas Pal of Trinamool
Congress for making controversial remarks and said "no one is continuing protests" on them.
Naidu said Congress and "its friends must come back to the House and join the debate. This attitude will not help but will boomerang. People are the ultimate judges."
He said important bills were slated to be passed and wished that the protesting opposition parties were in the House and "realise the importance of Parliament".
"Their attitude is hurting the interests of the people, they should keep that in mind," he said.
Quoting media reports, Naidu referred to opposition leaders' reported statements that the Speaker was workingunder pressure and said "Speaker is the highest authority in the House and they should respect the Chair."
Apparently in reference to opposition criticism about the Prime Minister's absence from the House, he said the Prime Minister had not only condemned the statement made by the
Minister, but had also intervened during the Question Hour saying he was convening a meeting of Chief Ministers where issues relating to the Planning Commission would be discussed.
Regarding Sadhvi's remarks, Naidu said the opposition parties were continuing to harp on the issue. "One poor woman has come for the first time in the House. She made some remarks and has apologised," he said.
The Minister also quoted the Pope to say that "to err is human, accepting it is noble and forgiving it is divine."
While Congress or any other opposition party did not announce they were boycotting the House, they were not present when Lok Sabha reassembled at 1430 hrs.
Almost the entire opposition was absent, while there were very few members from the treasury benches as well, leading to postponement of the sitting for 15 minutes and ringing of the quorum bells.
Earlier, soon after the Prime Minister's statement, Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge said the opposition wanted to know why such a thing happened.
"We are not against any individual" nor their background but the issue is that many BJP leaders have been making controversial statements, he said.
Such statements are creating a situation in the country where social unity is threatened, he said and wanted to know what action government is taking in this.