Proceedings in the Upper House of the Parliament saw several disruptions and adjournments over the Kumari Selja issue on Thursday. Congress members trooped into the Well of the House and demanded an apology from union minister Piyush Goyal.
On Wednesday, Goyal had further aggravated the row in the House by alleging that the Congress members were creating “manufactured problems” and “manufactured discrimination”. This he had said when the Opposition was already unhappy with Leader of House Arun Jaitley. Jaitley deliberately raked up the matter and refused to accept that Kumari Selja was asked about her caste when she visited a temple in Dwarka in Gujarat in 2013. Selja had made this claim on Monday during the discussion on ‘Commitment to India’s Constitution.’ Selja had spoken about the discrimination she had faced in a temple in Dwarka.
Soon after the House mourned the death of thousands who died in the Bhopal gas tragedy 31 years ago, Congress members began their uproar. They shouted slogans demanding an apology. Piyush Goyal expressed regret for his comments but Kumari Selja refused to accept it.
“In view of the Chair’s decision to review the records, I regret my remarks with respect to my colleague Kumari Selja,” Goyal had said which the protesters refused to accept.
Efforts were then being made outside the House to resolve the matter through a series of meetings of leaders of various parties with Chairman Hamid Ansari and Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien.
Even as the Congress members continued their sloganeering, PJ Kurien lost his cool.
“I cannot be intimidated…You cannot shout,” said PJ Kurien who also called the agitating members’ behavior as “undemocratic”.
Finally, after a series of short meetings outside the House, at 2pm when the Upper House reconvened, normal proceedings resumed and the House began a discussion on the deteriorating relations between India and Nepal.
(With inputs from PTI)