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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

LS adjourned over envoy Ronen Sen's remarks

The Lok Sabha adjourns twice after protests over his remarks in the US dubbing critics of the N-deal as "headless chicken". Manmohan stands firm| What lies ahead...

india Updated: Aug 22, 2007 16:42 IST


The Lok Sabha was adjourned twice on Tuesday after protests against Indian envoy Ronen Sen's reported remarks in the US dubbing critics of the India-US nuclear deal as "headless chicken".

As soon as the house met, opposition and Left MPs were on their feet denouncing Sen's reported statement posted on a US-based news website.

They were not satisfied with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement that Sen's comments were "totally unwarranted and unacceptable".

"I have sought a clarification from Sen. The correspondent might have misquoted him," Mukherjee maintained.

Speaker Somnath Chatterjee also assured the MPs that if the remarks had indeed been made, action could be taken against the ambassador.

"Parliament is not that powerless. We can take action but not on the basis of newspaper reports," he maintained.

Chatterjee also accepted Leader of the Opposition LK Advani's suggestion that the full text of the interview could be asked for and studied. After that action may be taken against the ambassador.

But MPs from the Left parties and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continued disrupting the proceedings, forcing an exasperated speaker to adjourn the house till 11.30 pm.

The protests continued when the house resumed, forcing the speaker to adjourn it till 2 pm.

In his statement earlier, Mukherjee said he had contacted the ambassador, who had explained that some of his reported comments had been published "either deliberately or through misunderstanding".

The correspondent had also misquoted the ambassador "in several respects", the minister said.

Mukherjee added, "In democracy there will always be dissention and divergence of opinions. Nobody can accuse others who hold divergent views. I regret the alleged comments, which have hurt the feelings of honourable members."

First Published: Aug 21, 2007 11:50 IST