As the curtains fell on Parliament’s monsoon session, the BJP's ties with the government and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar nosedived further.
BJP parliamentary party leader L K Advani and leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj stayed away from Kumar’s end-of-the-session tea party on Thursday to protest “being prevented” from speaking when he (Advani) raised the cash-for-vote scam issue in the House.
Advani registered his protest with parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Bansal after Kumar adjourned the House sine die. He complained that his mike was switched off.
An angry Advani told Bansal that Congress members should not have behaved in the manner they did when he was speaking on the cash-for-vote scam.
But BJP deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde, chief whip Ramesh Bais and senior MP Shahnawaz Hussain later attended the party.
Later, dismissing Advani's claims, Bansal said: “It is not true that he was not given permission.”
Bansal expressed surprise that the senior BJP leader with more than 40 years of parliamentary experience was seeking suspension of Question Hour on an issue that was subjudice and had been debated for three days in the Lok Sabha in March.
Bansal took a swipe at Advani's decision to launch a yatra against corruption, saying it was amusing that a party whose president was “caught taking money” (referring to Bangaru Laxman) was undertaking such an exercise.
Earlier, senior NDA and BJP leaders, including Advani, Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav staged a protest in front of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the Parliament complex.
Swaraj said: “When our senior leader gave a notice for suspension of Question Hour today, he was not allowed to speak. When he started speaking in the din, directions were given that nothing would go on record and his mike was shut.”