RS Monsoon Session chaos: Centre talks tough

Rajya Sabha Monsoon Session chaos: Centre talks tough

Goyal, Leader of the Rajya Sabha, dismissed Opposition claims that outsiders were let in to prevent members from exercising their right to protest

Union Ministers Piyush Goyal, Pralhad Joshi. Credit: PTI Photo

The Modi government on Thursday went on the offensive against the Opposition, as it demanded action against unruly members and a public apology from them for assaulting a lady marshal in the Rajya Sabha.

With Opposition leaders stating that “outsiders” were brought into the Rajya Sabha, the government, claiming violence was pre-planned, released CCTV recordings of Wednesday evening that showed a lady marshal being pushed around by members.

Seven Union ministers, including Pralhad Joshi, Piyush Goyal, Anurag Thakur, addressed a joint press conference after meeting Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Deputy Chairman Harivansh, seeking a “thorough investigation” and “strongest possible action” over the “shameful and deplorable” behaviour.

A lady marshal, in an incident report submitted to her superiors, said two women MPs Chhaya Verma and Phulo Devi Netam forcefully dragged her by pulling her arms to help their male counterparts break the security cordon.

Read | RS interim security report names some opposition MPs for unruly behaviour in House

Joshi, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, said the Opposition was in a belligerent mood since the first day of the monsoon session and had clearly told him that there would be a washout of proceedings.

He said the government was ready to extend the monsoon session by a day had the Opposition agreed for a discussion on farmers’ issues and the state of the economy.

“But, we were threatened by the Opposition with more disastrous things if the government tried to pass any other bills other than the OBC bill. It was told to us in no unambiguous terms,” Joshi said, narrating his interaction with Opposition leaders.

Thakur, the I&B Minister, said the Opposition had brought “anarchy of streets” to Parliament during the monsoon session and demanded an apology for their behaviour.

Goyal, Leader of the Rajya Sabha, dismissed Opposition claims that outsiders were let in to prevent members from exercising their right to protest.

“A total of 30 house marshals – 18 male and 12 women – from the Parliament Security Service were deployed to protect the secretary general’s table and the Chair,” Goyal said, adding that the decision was taken after Opposition members had climbed the secretary general’s table and flung books at the empty chair.

Goyal also rejected NCP leader Sharad Pawar’s claim that he had never seen a woman member attacked in Parliament.

“Mr Pawar is misinformed. A lady marshal was attacked by Opposition members. Does Mr Pawar condone the Parliament Security Staff being strangled,” Goyal asked.