NEW DELHI: Echoes of the findings of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the Lakhimpur Kheri violence — that the attack was pre-planned — paralysed Parliament on Wednesday with the Opposition demanding the resignation of junior home minister Ajay Mishra, as his son Ashish is the prime accused in the case.
Hours later, the embattled minister misbehaved with a group of journalists in Uttar Pradesh, indulging in name-calling and lunging at one of them. In a video that went viral, he is heard shouting in Hindi at a journalist who sought his reaction on the SIT’s revelation: “Don’t ask stupid questions. Are you mad? These media persons, thieves. They have no shame...”
Concerned over Mishra’s meltdown, the BJP top brass summoned him to Delhi. While the party had maintained a stoic silence on demands for his dismissal of when the violence broke, it sought to fob it off on Wednesday saying the matter is sub judice.
On October 3, four protesting farmers and a local journalist were mowed down by a car allegedly being driven by Ashish when it rammed into them from behind. Three others died in a retaliatory attack.
No business could be transacted in Parliament as Opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, pressed for adjournment motions to demand immediate sacking of Mishra and a discussion on the issue. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla rejected all such motions, which led to the Opposition trooping into the Well of the House, raising slogans and holding placards.
Later speaking to reporters, leader of the Rajya Sabha and Union minister Piyush Goyal said the demand for sacking Mishra is baseless since an impartial probe is going on under the watch of the Supreme Court. He also rejected demands for discussing the findings of the SIT, saying that there’s a convention that matters that are sub judice are not debated in legislative Houses.
Won’t relent, says Rahul
“In the end, this minister will have to resign. We will not leave him until he goes to jail. We will not leave him even if it takes us five years, 10 years or 15 years,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said outside Parliament
SP, Congress protest
In Uttar Pradesh, the SP and Congress staged protests outside the state Assembly demanding the removal of Ajay Mishra, as the House began its last session before the state elections.