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Opposition walkout in RS over Jogi episode
December 12, 2003 12:54 IST
Last Updated: December 12, 2003 13:56 IST
The main opposition Congress, Left Parties and the Rashtriya Janata Dal on Friday staged a walkout in the Rajya Sabha protesting against the Chair not responding to their demand to expunge what Congress called 'baseless' allegations against its leadership by a minister in connection with the Ajit Jogi episode.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had on Thursday remarked that former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi was 'dumped' for having shown the courage to name Congress president Sonia Gandhi as being part of an effort to prevent formation of a BJP government in the state.
This had resulted in uproarious scenes leading to abrupt adjournment of the House as Congress members led by Pranab Mukherjee challenged the minister to prove his claim.
Prasad should either authenticate his statement or apologise for his remarks, they said. The chair had also offered to look into the record.
Soon after Question Hour on Friday, Leader of the Opposition Manmohan Singh charged Prasad with making 'baseless allegations against the top leadership of the Congress' on which the party was 'very much exercised'.
"We had a meeting in the Chairman's office (in this regard) and we will like to know the status of the request," he said. When Deputy Chairperson Najma Heptullah said she could not respond to the demand immediately as she was not aware of what decision the Chairman had taken on the issue, the Congress staged a walkout.
Earlier, BJP member Balbir Punj had countered saying the Congress was also levelling baseless allegations against Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani and Union Law Minister Arun Jaitley. "I can understand Singh is under compulsion to keep Sonia Gandhi on a very high pedestal," Punj said creating a flutter in the House.
The Congress members said Punj could not speak on behalf of the government.
More reports from Chhattisgarh
Read about: Assembly Election 2003