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Ruckus in Lok Sabha over Rahul Gandhi's remarks on PM Modi, Harsh Vardhan's reaction

There was huge uproar in Parliament Friday as Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, while responding to a question by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, began by condemning his remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi made at a political rally. The proceedings were adjourned briefly as Congress and BJP MPs nearly came to blows.

Addressing an election rally on February 5, Rahul had said the prime minister would not be able to move out of his house after six months due to the nature of his speeches. "The youth of India will hit him so hard that it will make him realise that without giving employment, this country cannot progress," he had said.

What happened in Lok Sabha

When Rahul stood up to ask a question on medical colleges in his constituency, Harsh Vardhan began by calling his remarks "outlandish". Speaker Om Birla asked Harsh Vardhan to stick to his answer.

As the minister continued to read out his statement against Rahul, Congress MPs came to the Speaker's chair shouting slogans against the minister's move. Manickam Tagore, a Congress MP from Tamil Nadu, came to the Treasury benches to reach Vardhan, who was sitting in the second row. BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, however, held Tagore by his arm to prevent him from reaching the union minister. Congress MP from Kerala Hibi Eden and Union Minister Smriti Irani tried to intervene. "Guys, what are you doing. What is going on," Irani was heard saying.

Unnerved by the commotion, Vardhan continued reading his statement. The minister said, "I don't think in the worst of cases our party leaders have made such outlandish personal remarks against him threatening to beat him with dandas (sticks) and throwing him out of the country". The entire House present here must in unequivocal terms condemn his remarks against our prime minister."

After the House was adjourned, several MPs of the ruling BJP demanded an apology from Rahul Gandhi. "Rahul Gandhi mafi maango (Rahul should tender apology)," a leader was heard saying. BJP leaders also demanded the expulsion of Tagore from the House. "Sadan se bahar karo. Mafi maango (Expel him from the House. Seek apology)," BJP members were heard saying.

Rahul Gandhi's response

Outside Parliament, Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP of "orchestrating ruckus" in Parliament. "BJP obviously doesn't like it if I speak. We are not allowed to speak in Parliament. Manickam Tagore didn't attack anyone, rather he was attacked," he said. "The orchestrated ruckus in Parliament today was designed to prevent me from questioning the Govt. The youth of India can clearly see that the PM has no clue about how to tackle the unemployment crisis. To protect him, the BJP will keep disrupting Parliament, preventing debate," he later tweeted.

(Inputs from The Indian Express)

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