Rift in Parliament over use of English

In the question hour, after Ramesh replied to a supplementary question in English,  BJP member Kalraj Mishra promptly sought to know why the minister, despite being fluent in Hindi, answered in English.

Responding, Ramesh said: “Kalraj Mishraji yeh Mulayam Singhji ki bimari aap ko bhi pahuch gayi hai (this disease of Mulyam Singh has reached you too)”. This triggered strong reactions from the BJP, SP and BSP MPs who said communicating in Hindi could not be described as a disease.

Chairman Hamid Ansari ruled that both the languages could be used in the House and members should not make an issue out of a non-issue.

“This (original) question was asked in English and the minister has the right to answer it in English,” he ruled.

A similar scene unfurled in the Lok Sabha last week when Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav asked Ramesh and the BJP MP Maneka Gandhi to speak in Hindi. Ramesh reverted back to Hindi. But Mulayam received a snub from Gandhi who firmly made it clear that she would speak in whatever language she preferred.

Continuing the drama on the use of language in the Upper House, AIADMK member K Malaisamy asked a supplementary question in Tamil to the Union coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal.

The MPs can speak in any of the 18 official languages with prior notice so that interpreters can be arranged. But Malaisamy did not give any such notice.
However, Malaisamy finally translated the question – related to illegal influences in coal sector – in English minutes before the question hour ended.

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