NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said it was an "insult" to the people of Tamil Nadu that MPs were not allowed to ask questions on the regional language issue, and alleged that with no discussion happening, the Lok Sabha had become a "loudspeaker" of the government.
Gandhi's remarks came after Opposition members, including from the DMK, the Congress and the NCP, walked out of the Lok Sabha claiming they were not allowed to ask a supplementary question related to official language during the Question Hour.
Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Gandhi said he was not allowed to ask a supplementary on Monday on a question on the 50 biggest wilful defaulters and the same happened to Opposition MPs on a question on the Tamil language.
"Now it is ok for the speaker to hurt me, I understand he doesn't want me to speak. But today the entire Tamil people wanted to ask a supplementary about the Tamil language," he said.
"This is not about one person, this is not about Rahul Gandhi, this is about the people of Tamil Nadu and their language and even they were not allowed to ask that question, this is absolutely an insult to the people of Tamil Nadu," he said.
The people of Tamil Nadu have every right to defend their language, to believe in their language and to speak in their language, the former Congress president said.
Gandhi alleged that Speaker Om Birla took away the rights of the people of Tamil Nadu by not allowing the supplementary question on their language.
The people of Tamil Nadu and their language have been attacked, he claimed.
Asked if he believes the Lok Sabha speaker is acting in a partisan manner, Gandhi said, "This is a House that belongs to all states, all languages. There should be a discussion here, but no discussion is happening these days. Nobody can ask a question."
"There is one-way traffic and it (Lok Sabha) has become a loudspeaker," he said.
Later, in a tweet, Gandhi said the people of Tamil Nadu were "disrespected" when the speaker refused to allow a supplementary question on the Tamil language.
"I strongly protest this injustice done to the Tamil people and the disregard for established practises and traditions of Parliament," he said.
Some Opposition members stood up in protest when Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai was replying to a question related to the official language.
As Speaker Birla took up the next question during the Question Hour, DMK leader T R Baalu vociferously protested that they should be allowed to ask supplementary questions.
Amid the din, Gandhi intervened and said it was an issue at the heart of the people of Tamil Nadu and that supplementaries should be allowed.
He was apparently referring to issues regarding official language.
With the speaker continuing with the next question, members from various Opposition parties, including DMK, Congress and NCP walked out from the House.