NEW DELHI: Parliament transacted little business on Friday with the Opposition on a warpath over Union Minister of State Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti’s controversial remarks.
The Opposition MPs from Congress, TMC, Left, BSP, SP, AAP, including Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who came with black gags on their faces in protest, staged a walkout.
Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge, himself a veteran Dalit politician, said the Opposition wanted to know why she made such a statement. “We are not against any individual or their background but the issue is that many BJP leaders have been making controversial statements.”
Such hate speeches, Kharge added, were “creating a situation in the country where social unity is threatened”. Amidst all this, E Ahmed, former minister and IUML leader, was heard accusing the government of not paying heed to the Opposition. Upset that the Opposition continued to agitate even after the Prime Minister’s statement, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan made it clear that the protests have to stop. However, it did not make any difference as the House could not function.
The situation later aggravated with Opposition leaders from nine parties issuing a joint statement asking the government to pass a parliamentary resolution stating that all “inflammatory speeches that outrage the Constitution” to be condemned. Congress deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma said, “We are scaling down our demand for the minister’s resignation after the Prime Minister has spoken. Without a resolution, the House (meaning Rajya Sabha) cannot take up legislative business. It’s the government’s responsibility to run the House.”
The government side too appeared to be equally adamant, with both Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying that there was no question of a resolution or a resignation.