Oppn using child as political tool: Smriti

Oppn using child as political tool: Smriti

The verbal duel between HRD Minister Smriti Irani and BSP chief Mayawati and repeated adjournments over Rohith Vemula suicide case marked the first working day of Rajya Sabha where no official business was carried out.

Tempers ran high through out the day over the demand to include a Dalit in the panel probing Vemula’s case with Mayawati once rushing to the well of the House in retort to Irani’s comments of using a “child (Rohith) as a political tool and strategy” while the minister said she would chop off her head and lay it on BSP chief’s feet if her response does not satisfy them.

The trouble started soon after the House assembled with Mayawati demanding an immediate response to her question from the government, which said it would give a response only after the debate on the issue was over. With government not relenting, BSP MPs rushed to the well, shouting slogans.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien sought to reason with the protesting MPs, saying the issue is already listed for a discussion later in the day and if the House agreed, it could be taken up right away. However, Mayawati was unrelenting and she pressed for an answer saying Rohith’s case was an “insult” to 25 crore Dalits.

“Since the time, BJP came to power at the Centre, nefarious means are being used to impose RSS ideology,” she said adding Rohith’s suicide is not the first case and many Dalit students have committed suicide in the past when Congress-led UPA was in power at the Centre.

The morning session witnessed repeated adjournments and when the House reassembled in the afternoon, the scene was no different.

There was uproar and the discussion on Jawaharlal Nehru University and University of Hyderabad could not be taken up as BSP MPs continued their protest.

“I am ready to reply to all questions. First you allow the discussion... You are senior to me. You are a woman. If you want, I am ready to reply. If you are not satisfied with my reply, I am ready to behead myself and lay it on your feet,” Irani said.

Mayawati later retorted and said the NDA government was waiting for a “signal from Nagpur”, indicating RSS headquarters while a combative Irani said she was ready to discuss the issue “right here, right now”.

The House was adjourned for the day after assurance from Kurien and Naqvi that Irani will respond specifically to Mayawati’s question after the conclusion of the discussion on Thursday.

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