The raising of Jai Sri Ram slogans by some BJP members in the Rajya Sabha, after the tabling of the Liberhan Commission report on Tuesday, sparked a scuffle between Samajwadi Party (SP) general secretary Amar Singh and BJP’s S.S. Ahluwalia.
In the presence of foreign visitors witnessing the proceedings of the House, an infuriated Amar Singh and a few of his party colleagues charged at Ahluwalia and tried to grab his collar. The SP was objecting to the Jai Shri Ram slogans raised by BJP members after Home Minister P. Chidambaram tabled the report.
Singh tried pushing Ahluwalia around, but the BJP leader forced him back with both hands. The warring members were separated by their party colleagues.
Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson K. Rahman Khan left in a huff amid chants of Jai Shri Ram and Ya Ali. The House had to be adjourned.
Singh and Ahluwalia later regretted the incident and patched up.
When the House reassembled, Rajya Sabha chairperson Hamid Ansari said: “An unsavoury incident does not bring any credit to this House… As the House of Elders, we are expected by the public to set certain standards.”
Singh regretted losing control over his emotions. “Surinder Singh (Ahluwalia) and I are old friends…They should not have provoked me by sloganeering.” Ahluwalia then stood up and recalled, “we studied together in Kolkata” before going our own ways.
But the two were not on the same wavelength while speaking to reporters before the House reassembled. Taking a swipe at Ahluwalia, Singh said, “I am a greater Ram Bhakt than Ahluwalia. I read Hanuman Chalisa daily, but chanting Jai Shri Ram in the House was not proper.”
Ahluwalia accused the SP leader of targeting the minority votes. “He attacked an MP from a minority community to get the support of another minority community.”