Congress members walked out of the Lok Sabha on Monday protesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks on Sonia Gandhi at election rallies in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
They staged the walkout during zero hour after their repeated attempts to raise the AgustaWestland chopper issue was not allowed by the chair.
Congress members led by Mallikarjun Kharge wanted a clarification from the government on a statement by Modi on the controversy’s “Italian connection” to target party president Sonia Gandhi.
As soon as the house assembled after the weekend, Kharge was on his feet waving newspaper clippings and demanding the right to speak.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan directed members to take up the listed questions even as BJP members insisted that the house must continue with Question Hour.
The issue was raised in the presence of house leader and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Kharge was soon was supported by his party colleagues like Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Jyotiraditya Scinda. Chowdhury kept saying: “Our leader must be listened to.”
The chair was unmoved. In the din, Congress members were heard saying: “This is not fair.”
Modi on Sunday targeted Sonia Gandhi over the helicopter deal at election rallies in Kerala, saying it was not the Indian government but a court in Italy that had named the Congress chief.
“Do you have anyone you know in Italy? Do you have relatives in Italy?” he asked the crowd. He went on: “Everyone knows who has an Italian connection.”