Discussion on caste-based census in the Lok Sabha got derailed on Wednesday with BJP raising the issue of Bangladeshi infiltrators, clashing with RJD chief Lalu Prasad who wanted the issue of backwards to take precedence.
Initiating the debate on Census 2011, Ananth Kumar (BJP) raised the issue illegal migrants from Bangladesh getting registered as Indian citizens. He said the matter was related to "internal disturbance and external aggression".
At this, RJD chief Lalu Prasad charged Kumar with propagating BJP's agenda by "repeatedly talking of Pakistan and Bangladesh and ignoring the issue of backwards in the census exercise."
An agitated Kumar then said he would raise the issue suggested by Prasad but would first take up the issue related to national security.
When Prasad repeatedly objected to the BJP leader referring to the problem of illegal migrants only in his speech, Kumar asked the RJD chief to clarify "whether you are with India or with Pakistan and Bangladesh."
He made certain remarks against the RJD leader, to which Prasad retorted that Kumar was levelling "wild allegations". Members of Samajwadi Party and Trinamool Congress who sought an apology joined him.
Amid the din, Deputy Speaker Karia Munda adjourned the House till 3.30 pm.
During his speech, Kumar said the National Population Register exercise was being conducted along with Census, which could create confusion.
He said personnel conducting the census exercise have been asked not to cross-question people on their nationality. "The column says nationality as declared. It should be nationality as determined," he said.
He claimed that while in other countries illegal crossing of border results in jail term, in India such people are given citizenship and other facilities.
"One day that person can get elected to Lok Sabha and sit next to you as a Minister in the UPA," Kumar said pointing at Chidambaram.
"Do you mean there was no illegal migration and no ration cards given to such people between 1998 and 2004 (when NDA was in power)?" he questioned.
After the House was adjourned, Home Minister P Chidambaram was seen talking to Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj and Kumar. He later went to Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav and was seen explaining something to them.