The second leg of budget session resumed on a stormy note with the principal opposition party, Congress taking up the the issue of Union minister Giriraj Singh’s remarks against party president Sonia Gandhi. The BJP leader was made to regret for his statement as the stalemate on the floor continued.
As soon as the House met for the day, Congress members raked up Singh’s remarks against Gandhi, terming it as an attack on womanhood.
Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said BJP MPs and ministers have continuously been making unwarranted and irresponsible statements. Such remarks create fissures in the society and hurt the harmony, he said.
At one point of time, Kharge got offended when his mike was switched off. “Whenever I speak, the mike is switched off . I have to protest,” he said.
Jyotiradiya Scindia (Cong) said such remarks make people hang their heads in shame. “It is an insult to the Nigerians also . . . the Nigerian High Commissioner has also protested.”
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should apologise and this time, the minister should not apologise but tender his resignation.
While rejecting a variety of adjournment motions moved by Congress, AIADMK and Left members, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan allowed Scindia to raise the issue of Singh’s remarks.
She said she was also hurt by the remarks and such statements should not be made.
Both Gandhi and Giriraj Singh were present in the House.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said government and BJP did not approve of such remarks but there was no need to bring the Prime Minister in the picture.
Kharge said the PM was in picture as the remarks have been made by a minister which makes it a collective responsibility of the Council of Ministers. “PM is the Leader of the House . . .,” he said.
As Speaker took up the Question Hour, Congress members trooped into the Well raising slogans. The House was then adjourned for 20 minutes. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi entered the House just as it was adjourned.
As soon as the House met again at 11:45 am, Singh rose to say that his intention was not to insult anyone. But if his remarks have hurt anyone, “I regret it,” the Minister said.
The minister of state for micro, small and medium enterprises was under fire for his racist barb at Gandhi. He had kicked up a row recently by asking whether Congress would have accepted Sonia Gandhi’s leadership had she not been white-skinned.
“Had Rajiv Gandhi married a Nigerian woman and if she was not a white-skinned woman, would the Congress have then accepted her (Sonia’s) leadership,” he had told journalists recently.