Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party for “orchestrating ruckus” in Parliament. The Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned for the day after Bharatiya Janata Party members vociferously protested against a comment that Gandhi recently made about Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
At an election rally in Delhi on Thursday, the former Congress president had criticised the government for failing to rein in unemployment, and said in six months’ time, the prime minister would be unable to step out of his house “as the youth would beat him with sticks”.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who was scheduled to address the House about the government’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China, criticised Gandhi for his remarks, and said such “outlandish language” and personal remarks should be condemned. As he was speaking, BJP and Congress MPs almost came close to a physical altercation, forcing Speaker Om Birla to adjourn proceedings till 1 pm. However, as soon as proceedings resumed, Birla adjourned the House for another hour, and finally for the day.
“The orchestrated ruckus in Parliament today was designed to prevent me from questioning the government,” Gandhi tweeted. “The youth of India can clearly see that the prime minister has no clue about how to tackle the unemployment crisis. To protect him, the BJP will keep disrupting Parliament, preventing debate.”
On Modi’s comparison of the Congress MP to a slow-reacting “tubelight”, Gandhi told reporters outside Parliament that he does not behave like a prime minister. “Normally, a prime minister has a particular status, a prime minister has a particular way of behaving, a particular stature, our prime minister doesn’t have these,” he added. “He does not behave in a prime ministerial way.”
He said Opposition leaders were being stifled in Parliament and not allowed to speak.
Meanwhile, Vardhan alleged that Congress MPs tried to attack him and snatch papers when he condemned Gandhi for his remarks against the prime minister. He added that such language is not expected from the son of a former prime minister and demanded that Gandhi should apologise.
The Lok Sabha also reprimanded Union minister Babul Supriyo and ordered that his remarks against Congress’ Leader in the Lower House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury be expunged. He said that the minister had no right to scold any member of the House. Supriyo later withdrew his remarks.
Earlier in the day, the Congress had submitted an adjournment motion notice in the Lower House over the “internal security situation in the country”, NDTV reported. This came a day after Modi blamed the Opposition for misleading and misinforming people about the Citizenship Amendment Act, and encouraging protests against the new citizenship law. “Is it okay to misguide and misinform the nation?” the prime minister had asked in the Rajya Sabha during a discussion on the Motion of Thanks on the president’s address. “Can anybody be a part of a campaign that does the same? The path being taken on CAA by many Opposition parties is unfortunate. Many Opposition members are very enthused these days, those who were silent have become violent.”
In the Upper House, Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP KK Ragesh submitted a Zero Hour Notice about the “alleged criminal attack on Jawaharlal Nehru University teachers and students” last month. At least 34 people were injured in a mob attack on campus on January 5 that was blamed on the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the students’ wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. No arrests have been made yet in connection with the violence.