Industrialist Rahul Bajaj generated much heat in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday with Samjawadi Party leader Amar Singh and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) leader Brinda Karat accusing him of a conflict of interest in asking questions about the automobile industry.
Singh and Karat mainained that Bajaj, an Independent member of the house whose company is a major producer of two- and three-wheelers, could not pose the question as it directly related to his business interests.
Bajaj posed a question to Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who was fielding queries relating to the finance ministry on behalf of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who holds the portfolio, about what did the government propose to do to ameliorate the problems faced by the automobile industry following global meltdown.
Karan Singh (Congress), who heads the ethics committee of the Rajya Sabha, said a member should first state his personal interest, if any, before asking a question.
Thereafter, there was no bar on posing a question, Karan Singh maintained.
Chidambaram in his reply informed the house that the duties on auto vehicles have been reduced by four percent as part of the series of measures to pump prime the economy.