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Mann sticks to his guns against PM, makes BJP uneasy

india Updated: Aug 02, 2016 00:41 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Bhagwant Mann

Aam Aadmi Party MP Bhagwant Mann leaves after meeting the Ethics Committee during the monsoon session of Parliament in New Delhi.(Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)

Aam Aadmi Party MP Bhagwant Mann, who is under scrutiny for making a video on Parliament security, is reluctant to change his reply to a Lok Sabha panel nailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And his move has put the BJP in a spot.

In his two letters defending his act, Mann has accused Modi of compromising national security by allowing Pakistan’s ISI to enter Pathankot airbase in the garb of doing a probe. He also cited how a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP violated security in 2005 by bringing his Mercedes into the Parliament complex with a false car-pass.

“Mann’s letter will be mentioned in the committee’s report to Lok Sabha. The BJP is uncomfortable to have references about the PM in an official document that will be a part of the House records,” said a member of the panel.

On Monday, Mann got another day’s time to consider changing his reply. Last week, the committee’s chairman Kirit Somaiya had given Mann two days to change his report but the lawmaker refused to edit his reply.

When the meeting began, Mann replied in the negative on whether he wanted to change his letter. But towards the end, when Somaiya asked if he would like to take a day more to consider changes, Mann’s reply was, “Yes.”

BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi asked Mann to reveal details of his recent foreign trips. The Sangrur MP, first denied any trip, but later admitted going to Singapore, San Francisco and Canada.

Lekhi wanted Mann to explain his visit to Canada, where many former Khalistani terrorists are believed to have taken shelter.

Somaiya also questioned Mann for his flip flops. “In your letter, you have said the ambit of the panel should be expanded to call the PM. In another paragraph you have concluded that the panel should be scrapped. Which is the correct answer?”

Some MPs even wanted to know who was guiding Mann. The Sangrur MP and the AAP’s face in Punjab maintained that nobody has guided him.

Read | Defiant Mann tells panel he has done no wrong; most members want strict action

Read | Bhagwant Mann gets 2 day’s time to change reply given to Parliament panel