The Lok Sabha was repeatedly adjourned on Friday amid a ruckus over Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur’s remarks on the Nehru-Gandhi family, PTI reported.
Earlier in the day, Opposition leaders criticised the PM CARES Fund, which was set up in March in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic by the prime minister’s office. They questioned the need for a new fund, and why it was not being audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. However, Thakur said they were criticising the fund “just for the sake of it” and that their “intentions are wrong, according to NDTV.
He also attacked the Nehru-Gandhi family. “In 1948, [the] then PM [Prime Minister Jawaharlal] Nehru-ji ordered the creation of a Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund like a royal order,” he said. “From 1948 till today, it has not been registered. How did it get FCRA [Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010] clearance? The trust is not registered.”
He said that the PM CARES Fund was a registered public charitable trust, and accused the Congress of creating a fund for the Gandhi family. This should be investigated, he added. Thakur later apologised for his remarks, according to The Hindu.
The remarks were met with uproar in Parliament from members of the Congress. “Who is this boy from Himachal,” Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury asked. “How did Nehru come into this debate? Did we take [Prime Minister] Narendra Modi’s name? This two-bit chhokra...” The term is a slang that refers to an ill-mannered child.
The Congress demanded an apology from Thakur before walking out of the House. Speaker Om Birla warned the MPs to stay in their seats and keep their masks on in view of the coronavirus crisis. “If anyone plays with safety then they will be named and thrown out of the house,” he warned.
Birla then adjourned the proceedings for 30 minutes till 4.20 pm and called for an informal meeting for floor leaders to settle the matter. After the House assembled, ruckus continued and the Speaker adjourned the proceedings till 5 pm. The House was adjourned two more times – till 5.30 pm and then finally 6 pm.
Om Birla then said Thakur would say a few words before the proceedings resumed. “I had no intent to hurt the sentiments of anybody. If anyone is hurt then I regret it,” Thakur said.