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Sadhvi has apologised, the House should resume work: PM

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By EMN Updated: Dec 04, 2014 10:23 pm
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PTI
NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 4

After two days of storm, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today broke his silence over the row surrounding Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, saying he “strongly disapproved” of the comments of the “new Minister” who has apologised and the matter should end but the opposition remained adamant on her sacking.
While Modi virtually ruled out any action against Jyoti in his statement in Rajya Sabha, Opposition insisted that she has no right to continue as a Minister, contending that since she has apologised, it means she has committed a “crime”.In the Lok Sabha too, the Opposition created uproar to press for a statement from the Prime Minister failing which they unitedly decided to boycott the House proceedings for the day today. Congress and Trinamool Congress staged a walkout.
In the Rajya Sabha where the opposition has been stalling the proceedings since Tuesday, Modi appealed to members to allow the House to function in national interest as Jyoti has already apologised.
Noting that the Minister is new, he said in the “heat” of elections, such comments should be avoided.
“Before this issue was raised in the House, I had put forth this matter before all our MPs…The minister is new, and she has come to Parliament for the first time. We are aware of her background. She has apologised.
“I believe that after her apology…This House has so many senior members with so much experience, they know what should be their feelings towards an apology,” Modi said.
“I appeal to the House that when the Minister has apologised…This is a message to all of us that in future we all should not cross the limits of dignity in terms of do’s and don’ts. I appeal to the House that we should work for the interest of the country,” the Prime Minister said.
However, opposition members wanted clarifications from the Prime Minister but were disallowed leading to protests and repeated adjournments. The House was adjourned for the day at 2.40 PM after five adjournments.
The Prime Minister came to the Rajya Sabha at around 11.20 PM when it re-assembled after a 15-minute adjournment, amid vociferous demands for Jyoti’s resignation.
After Modi’s statement, Anand Sharma (Cong) said the Prime Minister should take strong action against the Minister as the Constitution does not permit such utterances.
Finance Minister and Leader of House Arun Jaitley said the Opposition had been demanding that the Prime Minister come to the House and make a statement. Now that Modi has made the statement, the House should get on to its business.
Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said the minister had not apologised and had merely expressed regret. “Assuming that she has apologised, then you apologise only when you have committed some crime,” he said demanding action against Jyoti. Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said this is not the first time that such a statement has been made and there have been several such statements in an concerted effort to vitiate the communal atmosphere despite the Prime Minister’s slogan of ‘sabka sath, sabka vikas’ (With the support of all, progress for all).
As Opposition members did not relent and treasury benches objected to the repeated disruptions even after Prime Minister’s statement, Kurien said the issue has been under discussion for three days and no further discussion can be allowed.
“You cannot have discussion on the same subject every day,” he told the agitating opposition members.
He said members were yesterday complaining that their Zero Hour concerns could not be taken up due to disruptions.
“You are losing Zero Hour. Don’t blame us then,” he said.
DMK’s Tiruchi Siva asked why the Chair was depriving opportunity to one side to speak. Kurien shot back saying, “Don’t cast aspersions on the Chair… You are depriving right of 15 members (who have given zero hour notices).”
He said he has given Sharad Yadav floor to speak because he is senior member and after his statement Zero Hour will be taken up.
Order could not be restored in the House after that and Kurien adjourned the proceedings till noon. The House was adjourned again and again for five times, before Kurien called it a day at 2.40 PM.
Earlier, similar scenes were witnessed as soon as the House met for the day, with members of entire Opposition on their feet demanding Jyoti’s resignation.
The Lok Sabha witnessed uproar for the third straight day with a determined opposition seeking a statement from the Prime Minister on the controversial remarks of the minister besdies her resignation.
The opposition alleged that the government was using its “brute majority” to stifle its voice, a charge denied by the ruling side.
“The Prime Minister is the leader of all. He is the Prime Minister of the country and only he can control or direct his Ministers…The whole country wants that such statements need to be condemned and that is why the entire Opposition is requesting for his statement,” Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said.
His remarks came amid din over the issue as members of several parties including Congress and Trinamool Congress stormed the Well and raised slogans during the Question Hour.
Amid protests by the ruling side, Kharge accused the government of attempting to suppress the opposition through “brute majority”.
He told Speaker Sumitra Mahajan that “you are the custodian and only you can check such attitude and behaviour of the government. … I am not saying that you have come under their pressure.”
He said the opposition protest to demand a statement from the Prime Minister was going on for over an hour and “no heed was being paid to it. If this happens, then democracy will be in danger.”
“What is the reason why the Prime Minister is not coming to the House and making a statement when we are protesting in such a peaceful manner,” Kharge said.
The Speaker denied any pressure on the Chair and said she had to “maintain a balance” as she had to listen to “400 members who also want to ask questions and want proceedings to continue”.
She said whenever the opposition raised an issue, she has ensured that there is a response from the government and gave the examples of government responding to the burning of a Delhi church and the Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh.
“No issue raised by the opposition has gone unnoticed,” Mahajan said, adding that in Jyoti’s case, the Minister has herself apologised and the Parliamentary Affairs Minister has made an appropriate statement. “Therefore the matter should end there,” she observed.
When the House reassembled at 2.35 PM, Kurien told the members that the External Affairs Minister was ready to answer if they had any questions. However, the opposition members continued with their protests in the Well and shouted slogans.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was heard telling the protesting members that to stop proceedings even after PM’s statement is not fair.
This behaviour reflects the “depression of defeat” from whose influence the Congress is acting, Naqvi was heard saying. The people are watching, he said accusing Congress of creating anarchy and arrogance. For a brief moment some slogans were heard from the BJP benches as well.
Amidst noisy scenes, a statement on the railway accident in Mau district of Uttar Pradesh this morning was laid and Kurien asked the protesting members if they wanted to proceed with Short Duration Discussion.
As the din continued, Kurien adjourned the House for the day at around 3.40 PM.

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By EMN Updated: Dec 04, 2014 10:23:48 pm