NEW DELHI: The government on Friday sought an apology from two Lok Sabha members of the Congress for their "threatening position" towards Union Minister Smriti Irani, when she was speaking on the Unnao rape issue in the House.
Irani was speaking in the Lok Sabha on the Unnao rape issue when she was interrupted by two Congress MPs who apparently got up from their seats and rushed towards the treasury benches.
The Union Minister expressed shock over the Congress MPs' behaviour. "Is it my fault that I am a woman MP of BJP and spoke in the House," she told reporters in the Parliament Complex.
"This is the most condemnable behaviour. They came in threatening position. when she was speaking. She is a lady member of the house. It is most uncalled and they should apologise," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said in the House when it assembled after lunch break.
Meenakshi Lekhi, who was in the Chair, told Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to ask his party MPs to come to the House and seek an apology.
Ruling BJP members accused Congress MPs Dean Kuriakose and TN Prathapan of charging towards Irani when she was speaking in the House.
BJP's Sangeeta Singh Deo described it as a "black day in the temple of democracy."
Sangeeta said Irani did not make any derogatory and inflammatory remarks.
The opposition party on Friday accused the Union minister of politicising the issue of rapes and claimed that the treasury benches created a ruckus as they did not want a discussion in the House on women's security.
Congress's leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said his party wanted to draw the attention of the House to the Unnao incident and its demand was that the Home ministry, either the cabinet minister or the minister of state, respond to "our grievances".
A heated debate in Lok Sabha on the burning of the rape victim in Unnao snowballed into a massive political row on Friday as the BJP accused two Congress members of showing aggression towards Irani and demanded an apology, leading to adjournment of the House proceedings without much work.
"What befuddled us that instead of responding to our concerns the treasury benches resorted to hurling allegations against us as a result of which the House got adjourned. Speaker had also issued a ruling over this issue (indicating that the matter was over)," Chowdhury said.
"Unrelenting, Smriti Irani was hell-bent on an apology from two of our members who also participated in the debate when treasury benches hurled allegations against us. While the chair was occupied by Chairman, she got the courage to overrule the rulings made by the speaker," Chowdhury said.
If treasury benches think that by the might of their numbers they will be able to do anything on their whims and fancies, the Congress will resist it with whatever means at its disposal, Chowdhury said.
Speaking on the incident at a Congress briefing, party MP Jothimani hit out at Irani, saying "she has politicised rape".
Treasury benches people created a ruckus and got the House adjourned because the government does not want a discussion on women security in Parliament, she said.
"What happened in Parliament today when we wanted to speak on the Unnao (incident), they did not want to discuss it and the Home minister was also not present. Instead, the women and child development minister stood up. Smriti Irani stood up and politicised rape," Jothimani said.
She also hit out at the BJP for accusing Congress' leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of politicising the Unnao incident, saying, "We never tried to politicise rape.
"We are sensitive enough to realise what happened in Coimbatore, what happened in Hyderabad, Unnao and Malda," the Congress MP said.