NEW DELHI: Two senior leaders, Asaduddin Owaisi of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) and union Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla, clashed fiercely in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday after the minister made some "personal" remarks.
Responding to a supplementary question in the house, Heptulla told the Hyderabad MP that the 'Stand UP India' scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently was meant to encourage entrepreneurship of women, including from minorities.
The minister's reply was received with thumping of desks by the treasury benches and slogans of "Bharat Mata Ki Jai".
Heptulla then suggested that Owaisi could get a loan under the scheme if he applied for it in the name of a female kin.
This provoked Owaisi, who said none could make such "personal remarks" against him or his family.
"I am asking questions here for the people as an elected MP," he said, and at one point sought to walk towards the well of the house to register his protest.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan advised the members not to lose their cool, while Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said anything controversial said should be expunged from the proceedings.
The Speaker agreed to do so.
Owaisi wanted to know from the minister whether the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation will also be part of 'Start Up India' and 'Stand Up India' schemes launched by the government to provide financial assistance to minorities for taking up skill related schemes.
Heptulla said her government is not seeking to differentiate whether skilled workers and young students belong to the Muslim community or not, and that it has been trying to promote skill development in all parts of the country, especially in helping the deprived and backward ones.
"No one has actually appreciated that 50 per cent of country's population, that is women, will be benefited by the Stand Up scheme," she said, adding that women in all communities -- including SC-ST and minorities -- were backward and were the suffering lot.
Heptulla also said at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan recently that young entrepreneurs from all communities shared their experience and projects.
"I should not be saying Muslim children. Because our government is not making any distinction between people. But I am answering in the language you have asked -- even young Muslim students presented their skills on the occasion," she said directing her response at Owaisi.
The minister said that under the aegis of the minority affairs ministry, as many as 35,000 young Muslim men and women are undertaking various training and would be suitably accommodated with jobs and provided with financial assistance once they are keen to launch their own projects.