Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Monday expunged an allegedly derogatory remark made by Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy about Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, ANI reported. The remark caused huge uproar in the Parliament, with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party demanding an apology.
The Monsoon Session of the Parliament started today with the Lok Sabha assembling first. Sitharaman introduced the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020, but Roy opposed bringing cooperative banks under the Centre’s control. While arguing against it, Roy implied that India’s economic condition had increased Sitharaman’s worries, according to NDTV. The Indian economy saw its worst contraction in decades, with Gross Domestic Product shrinking by a record 23.9% in the April to June quarter and reflected the severe impact of the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
Sitharaman defended the Bill and said: “If only Saugata Roy could listen instead of making remarks on other factors.”
Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi demanded an unconditional apology from Roy. “Commenting on personal attire...Being a senior member, what is he talking,” he asked. “He should apologise unconditionally. It is an insult to womenfolk.”
However, Roy said he did not believe he had said anything unparliamentary.
This is the first Parliament session to take place amid the coronavirus crisis. The precautions implemented for the session include different timings for Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Staggered seating arrangements have also been made to ensure physical distancing.