Oppn seeks apology from PM for his remarks, disrupt RS

Oppn seeks apology from PM for his remarks, disrupt RS

Congress and other opposition parties today forced adjournment of Rajya Sabha twice demanding an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his remarks "insulting" his precedessors.

Besides Congress members, their AIADMK counterparts too were in the well of the House demanding that Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao should discharge his Constitutional duty by swearing in V K Sasikala as the Chief Minister without wasting any further time.

Congress, CPI(M) and JD(U) raised the remarks Modi made during his intervention in the Motion of Thanks to President's address yesterday, saying the Prime Minister was "abusive" and used "insulting" language.

They said they were not given an opportunity to seek clarifications during the debate yesterday despite Chairman Hamid Ansari citing precedence and tradition of the House that gave members the right to seek such response after Prime Minister or a minister's statement.

With ruling benches countering them vociferously, Congress and other opposition party members trooped into the Well raising slogans demanding an apology from Modi, which along with slogan shouting by AIADMK members created a din, forcing Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to adjourn the House till noon.

Finance Minister and Leader of the House Arun Jaitley said ruling of the Chair cannot be challenged by a notice under rule 267 and rules gave government the right to reply to a debate but it does not provide for a reply to rejoinders.

While Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said Modi had used "abusive" language against his party's former general secretary, Anand Sharma (Cong) said the Prime Minister had insulted the memory of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said when he had sought to raise the issue of export duty on wheat and pulses import, Modi had said he would listen to him after his intervention was over.

Chairman Hamid Ansari had also reminded the Prime Minister of the tradition and practice of the House to allow clarifications from members but the same was not heeded to, he said.

When the House reassembled at noon, Chairman Hamid Ansari's call for taking up the Question Hour went unheeded as uproar by opposition Congress over Modi's remarks continued.

Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said he has given a notice under rule 267 seeking suspension of business to consider his motion seeking to raise concern against Prime Minister's refusal to reply to questions raised in the debate and the use of "abusive" language by him.

He claimed that Modi's was "abusive" in his remarks against a former member of Lok Sabha and a general secretary of the CPI(M), both of whom were no more.Maintaining there was "complete distortion of facts" by Modi, he said the Left has been fighting against blackmoney and will continue to do so.

The Chair, he said, had during the debate yesterday pointed to the practice and tradition of the House that gave right to the member whose name has been taken to respond. He said he was not allowed to speak despite his name being taken by the Prime Minister.

Kurien said since the issue was a closed chapter after yesterday's debate, he was disallowing the motion. Yechury went on to state that this was unprecedented. "Such abuses cannot be tolerated," he said.

He wanted the government answer "just one question" about how much of black money had returned to the banking system in the 50-day window provided to deposit the junked currency post demonetisation.

Yechury charged the government with allowing blackmoney holders to convert their ill-gotten wealth into white through demonetisation. But Kurien said "I cannot allow discussion again because it was complete (yesterday)", though agreeing with Yechury's contention and saying "some points might not have been answered.... If you are aggrieved, make use of the rule book."

Anand Sharma (Cong) said rule 238 disallows use of offensive expression during a debate. Prime Minister "yesterday insulted the memory of Indira Gandhi." "He has dragged political debate to new low... he was abusive... we will oppose him," he said.

Kurien said it is a closed chapter as far as the Chair is concerned. "I cannot reopen a discussion which is concluded. I am rejecting 267 notice... there are so many other ways of raising (your concerns)," he said.

Bhupendra Yadav (BJP) said rule 240 provides that if a member repeatedly speaks irrelevant things, it is the duty of members to stop him. Yechury latched on to it to say that he agreed with the BJP member that what the "Prime Minister spoke was totally irrelevant."

Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said the Chair had at the time of debate yesterday reminded Prime Minister of the tradition of the House to allow clarifications but this was not heeded to.

As BJP members objected, he started to read from the records of the House. At this point, AIADMK members rushed into the Well. They were closely followed by Congress members raising high-pitched slogans.

While AIADMK wanted Governor to discharge his Constitutional duty, Congress members shouted "Pradhan Mantri Maafi Mango" (Prime Minister, Apologise) and "Narendra Modi Sharam Karo, Sharam Karo" (Narendra Modi shame on you).As the din continued, Kurien adjourned the House till 1200 hours.

Soon after the House reassembled at noon, Chairman Hamid Ansari's call for taking up the Question Hour went unheeded as uproar by opposition Congress over Prime Minister's remarks about his predecessors continued.

AIADMK members also rushed into the Well, with Ansari requesting them to go back to their seats and speak. Digvijay Singh (Congress) raised strong objections to the Prime Minister's remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh and another former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and demanded that the remarks be expunged. Congress members were seen protesting in the aisle, raising "shame, shame" slogans.

This was objected to by I&B Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who told the Chairman that Singh's remarks should not go on record. "What Digvijay Singh has said should not go on record," he told the Chairman, who said nothing will be on record except the Question Hour.

"This is not the time," Ansari told Digvijay Singh. He again told the AIADMK members to return to their seats and speak from there. However, with the pandemonium prevailing in the House, Ansari adjourned the proceedings till 1400 hours.

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