NEW DELHI: Delhi elections cast a big shadow on the debate on Motion of Thanks on President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the joint session of Parliament on Monday.
With the BJP fielding Union Minister Anurag Thakur and Delhi MP Parvesh Verma — both of whom had been censured by the Election Commission for their provocative speeches — who sought to play on the narrative of the saffron outfit for the February 8 polls in the national capital, the Opposition turned the heat on the treasury benches.
The Opposition strongly protested against Verma initiating the debate on the Motion of Thanks since he has been banned for campaigning in Delhi for 96 hours by the EC. However, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla ruled that the MP was free to speak in the House.
Stating that what had been said outside could not be spoken within the House, Birla urged the MPs not to set a bad precedent.
The Opposition MPs, however, persisted, raising slogan of “have shame”, directed towards Verma.
The Opposition parties, including the DMK and the Congress, later staged a walkout from the House.
Accusing the Opposition parties of creating problems, Verma said: “The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will not be taken back. It’s not the government of Rajiv Firoz Gandhi, but of Narendra Modi.”
As Thakur started his speech, the opposition MPs chanted, “goli marna band karo” (stop firing bullets).
Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi rued that a Union minister gave a call to shoot at people, while demanding that he be booked under the law.
“There are boys who have opened fire against the protestors. There is a tacit approval from the political masters. One boy opened fire in the heavy presence of the police,” said Gogoi.
Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Rout said that the “government has been pushing the national discourse around National Register of Citizens (NRC) to deflect attention from core issues, including the large scale unemployment”.
“Can the government provide the exact number of people for whom the CAA has been enacted?” he asked.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the common people were protesting to save the constitution.
“They are protesting while holding the Constitution and singing the national anthem but they are being fired at,” he added.
The Speaker and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi tried to pacify the members asking them to raise their issues during the discussion on the Motion of Thanks.
The opposition’s demand for discussion on the CAA-NRC-NPR stalled proceedings in the Rajya Sabha.
Opposition MPs had given notice for suspension of the business to discuss the CAA-NRC-NPR, but it was disallowed by Chairman Venkaiah Naidu.
He said the opposition could discuss the matter during the debate on the Motion of Thanks.