War of Privilege Motions in Parl, BJP targets Scindia
A war of Privilege Motions broke out in the Lok Sabha, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday calling for notice of breach of privilege against Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia.
They hit back at the Congress and the Left for taking such an action against Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, accusing her of “misleading” the House over the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohit Vemula.
BJP’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha, Arjun Ram Meghwal, said he and many other members, including Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, had given a notice of breach of privilege against Scindia, the chief whip of Congress, for “misleading” the House on February 24.
Meghwal said Scindia had wrongly made a statement that Dattatreya had called Vemula “anti-national, casteist and extremist”.
The BJP leader raised the issue amid uproar created by AIADMK members who were demanding action against former Union Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti in the Aircel-Maxis issue.
At this, Congress members rushed to the Well, demanding that Speaker Sumitra Mahajan should decide on their notice of Privilege Motion against Irani for “misleading” the House on Vemula issue.
Dattatreya accused Scindia of “defaming him and tarnishing” his image by attributing such comments to him that he never made about Vemula. “My mother used to sell onions. I have always worked for OBCs, Dalits...I have made sacrifices for Dalits,” he said.
He said his letter to Irani, over which he is being attacked by the Congress, made no mention of Vemula’s name. “I never made such a charge against him,” Dattatreya said.
Congress members continued to protest with KC Venugopal showing the rule book to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to which she shot back, saying “Don’t show me the rule book. I know.” She repeatedly tried to pacify the members, saying all notices for privilege motion are under her consideration. With AIADMK and Congress members continuing to protest, she adjourned the House.
In the Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad reminded that Congress had given notice of Privilege Motion against the HRD Minister and wanted to know its status. “She (Irani) has misled this House and the nation through the House. Not only here, she has misled the country in both the Houses. It is a very very serious charge,” he said.
Earlier, Bhalchandra Mungekar (Congress) sought to know the fate of his notice for Privilege Motion against Irani given on Monday and insisted on action against the Minister. He raised the issue during the Question Hour. Chairman Hamid Ansari asked Mungekar not to raise any other issue during Question Hour.
JD-U’s Sharad Yadav backed the Congress. “We all support the Privilege Motion. The Minister has misled the country,” he said.
Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien, “Yes, the Chair has received the (notice for) Privilege Motion. There is a procedure and we have to adhere to it. It is under the consideration of the Chair. The Chair will get back to you.”
The issue of privilege motion against Irani had created a brief uproar in the Lok Sabha on Monday before Finance Minister Arun Jaitely started presenting the Union Budget 2016-17, with Opposition members seeking to know the status of their notices against Irani for “misleading” the House on the Rohith Vemula issue.