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Antulay's remarks rock Parliament again

December 19, 2008 13:38 IST
Last Updated: December 19, 2008 15:22 IST


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The A R Antulay issue is refusing to subside with opposition in Parliament remaining unrelenting for the second day on Friday in its demand for the sacking of the Union Minister following his controversial remarks on the killing of Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare [Images].

The issue created uproar in the Rajya Sabha as also the Lok Sabha for the second consecutive day with the opposition demanding his sacking forthwith. In the Upper House, the opposition members, mostly belonging to NDA, staged a walkout.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha, S S Ahluwalia (BJP) wondered why the Prime Minister was 'silent' and did not come out with a statement immediately. "In whose hands is Antulay playing -- Dawood or ISI," he asked.

In the Lok Sabha, BJP member Sumitra Mahajan wondered how can a Union Minister give an 'irresponsible' statement on an issue like this and 'weaken' India's fight against terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

The statement, she said in the Zero Hour, was particularly objectionable as it has come at a time when the entire country was united in the fight against terror.

Besides, she wanted the government to probe thoroughly the speculation in Maharashtra that a political leader had a hand in helping the terrorists who struck in Mumbai. This leader, she said, helped the ultras land in neighbouring Raigad district.

Her party colleague Santosh Gangwar wanted the government to verify whether the reports of resignation of Antulay were true.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in the Lok Sabha that government will respond on the issue before the session adjourns in a couple of days.

Mahajan, who had given notice of an adjournment motion on the issue, said that Antulay's statement was all the more objectionable given the fact that Maharashtra government has confirmed that Karkare was killed by terrorists.

In the Rajya Sabha, the demand of Manohar Joshi (Shiv Sena) that Antulay should not be part of the Cabinet and should be dropped immediately drew spontaneous support from many other opposition members.

Bharatkumar Raut (Shiv Sena) said Antulay chose to air his views 'very meticulously' when the Lok Sabha was discussing the anti-terror laws.

"Antulay raised the issue outside Parliament. He could have raised it inside the House," he said, adding that it was a design to create an atmosphere of suspicion and disturb the socio-religious harmony in the country.

He said the prime minister should seek an apology from the Minister and sack him; otherwise, he should be impeached.

In the Lok Sabha, Mukherjee said: "The House is meeting for a couple of days. Before the House adjourns we will explain the government position."

A similar statement was made by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Narainsamy in the Rajya Sabha.




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