BJP moves breach of privilege notice over Robert Vadra's FB post
Two BJP lawmakers on Thursday moved a notice of breach of privilege against Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra over his Facebook post on ruling MPs.
The notice was moved by BJP chief whip in the Lok Sabha, Arjun Ram Meghwal, and Dharwad MP Prahlad Joshi in an apparent bid to counter the Opposition's corruption charges against three top party leaders.
The petitioners claimed that Vadra's comments "demeaned" MPs and that the issue be referred to the privileges committee of Parliament.
The onus is now on the petitioners to prove that Vadra's FB post has really caused damage to Parliament's reputation or denigrated the institution. This, according to observers, is a difficult task.
Vadra, in the Facebook post, had taken potshots at the NDA government without naming it, before the monsoon session began on July 21.
"Parliament begins and so do their petty diversionary political tactics... People of India are not fooled. Regret to see India led by such so-called leaders !!," Vadra had said in his post.
The speaker will take a call on whether the issue will be diverted to the privileges committee or to dismiss it outright without any further scrutiny.
Parliament's privilege committee is heavily tilted against the Congress. The panel led by BJP's SS Ahluwalia has just one member from the party.
Among other people who had faced privilege notices previously were actor Om Puri, retired bureaucrat Ronen Sen and cartoonist Aseem Trivedi.
BJP MP Joshi raked up the issue in the Lok Sabha even while opposition members were demanding the resignation of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over various controversies.
While Swaraj and Raje are under fire for helping tainted former IPL chief Lalit Modi, who faces an Enforcement Department probe for alleged money laundering and forex violations, Chouhan is under pressure to quit over the Vyapam admission and recruitment scandal.
Joshi's remark angered Sonia Gandhi who rose to protest strongly, leading her party members to intensify their slogan-shouting against the government.
Leader of Congress in the House Mallikarjun Kharge went to speaker Sumitra Mahajan to say that Joshi's remarks should be immediately expunged as Vadra is not a member of the House.
(With inputs from PTI)