Parliament adjourned as Cong, BJP trade 'say sorry' jabs in Rahul Gandhi row

Mar 14, 2023 04:15 PM IST

Parliament adjourned: Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha saw chaos as ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and opposition Congress clash over Rahul Gandhi's remarks at Cambridge University and in London.

Parliament was adjourned for the day Tuesday afternoon - till 11 am tomorrow - amid a continuing stand-off between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress over Rahul Gandhi's criticism of the government and prime minister Narendra Modi. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha saw protests for a second straight day; the BJP is insistent Gandhi offer a public apology for remarks delivered at a Cambridge University speech and events in London, and the Congress has claimed the BJP has, in fact, insulted Parliament and needed to apologise.

Proceedings of Rajya Sabha underway during second phase of Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Tuesday. (ANI Photo/Sansad TV)
Proceedings of Rajya Sabha underway during second phase of Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Tuesday. (ANI Photo/Sansad TV)

The ruckus and chaos that have consumed India's Parliament this week - as the government and opposition snipe and squabble over the Adani-Hindenburg controversy and that over Gandhi's remarks - forced an identical adjournment Monday, the first day of the resumed Budget session.

In the Rajya Sabha today, union minister Piyush Goyal picked up where he and his colleagues left off yesterday, declaring, "Yesterday (Monday) we had raised a very important issue… the manner in which India was insulted and its institutions, including the Parliament, were insulted."

"Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are part of Parliament, which have been insulted. I feel this is the first time the entire Parliament was insulted."

READ | 'Centre must apologise': Cong MP hits out in Rahul Gandhi apology row

"Constitutional provisions say we all should condemn such a behaviour and the person concerned should apologise," the BJP leader - who did not name Gandhi - continued amid the din and said, "The entire world is watching… how will India respond to this serious issue?"

Rajya Sabha MP Hema Malini was also critical of Rahul Gandhi.

READ | 'Not right…': Hema Malini criticises Rahul Gandhi for his UK speech

The opposition responded by demanding a JPC (joint parliamentary committee) probe into the Adani-Hindenburg row, and the resultant disarray forced an adjournment till 2 pm.

Later in the day, Congress MP Shaktisinh Gohil filed a breach of privilege notice against Goyal, who is also the Leader of the House, for violating House rules by making allegations against a member.

Over in the Lok Sabha too there was chaos and Speaker Om Birla was forced to adjourn till 2 pm.

Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who is his party's leader in the Lower House, hit out at the government and declared that it was they who needed to apologise for insulting Parliament.

"This government does not want to run the Parliament," he said, adding, "Has it ever been witnessed that all the members of a party in power create a ruckus to halt the Parliament? Why should Rahul Gandhi apologise? Instead, they (the govt) should apologise," he told news agency ANI.

On Monday defence minister Rajnath Singh kickstarted the BJP's attack by asking Gandhi to apologise; he said, "Rahul Gandhi, who is a member of this House, insulted India in London. I demand his statements be condemned..."

READ | 'Rahul Gandhi should apologise': Rajnath Singh, BJP MPs' demand

Gandhi was also defended by Shashi Tharoor, who said the BJP had 'distorted' the remarks. The Congress MP said he saw no reason for Gandhi to apologise.

In the UK, Gandhi spoke at private events, including one at Cambridge, at which he discussed the border stand-off with China and the Pegasus spyware row.

Gandhi also said other opposition leaders were not allowed to speak in Parliament, comments he made earlier in an interview with an Italian daily.

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    Chandrashekar is a Senior Editor at Hindustan Times. A journalist with 11+ years across print and digital media, he also has degrees in Sociology and Economics. He has worked in the political, business, sports, and entertainment news spaces, but is happiest just watching football.

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