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Ram Setu issue rocks Rajya Sabha

February 26, 2013 14:51 IST

The issue of Ram Setu rocked Rajya Sabha on Tuesday with the Bharatiya Janata Party asking the government to withdraw its affidavit given in court on plans to dismantle it, leading to acrimonious exchanges and consequent adjournment of the house.

The House witnessed uproarious scenes on the issue, with the BJP and the government trading charges, accusing each other of playing politics and not having faith in God, as the Dravida Munetra Kazhagam and the All India Anna Dravida Munetra Kazhagam members joined in.

As the BJP and the treasury benches traded charges against each other, E M S Natchiappan, who was in the chair, adjourned the House till 2 pm amid acrimonious scenes.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Prakash Javadekar (the BJP) asked the government to withdraw its affidavit given in court on its decision to dismantle the structure and said they will not allow this to happen.

He also asked the government to agree to recommendations of the Pachauri expert committee's suggestion for a different alignment without dismantling the Ram Setu structure, to which the government is not agreeing.

BJP members stood up after Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla accused the party of playing politics on the issue for votes and later trooped into the well raising slogans for taking back the affidavit given by the Centre.

"Affidavit wapas lo, wapas lo," (Take back the affidavit), they chanted even as the AIADMK and the DMK also raised slogans leading to the adjournment of the house.

Javadekar accused government of not being concerned about public and religious sentiments as also of preserving ancient heritage and demanded withdrawal of the affidavit.

He warned that an agitation would be launched if the government did not do so.

Ravi Shankar Prasad (BJP) joined him saying India cannot exist without Ram and Ram Setu and the issue was not just of India's heritage but also of public sentiment and demanded a response from the government.

Venkaiah Naidu (BJP) said the state government's response should be taken on the issue and charged the government of not having faith in God or Lord Ram and demanded an assurance from the government in the house.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajiv Shukla instead accused the BJP of playing politics on the issue for votes and alleged use of ‘bullying tactics’ by it in seeking government response on the issue.

"You cannot force me to speak on the issue...The matter is sub-judice and it would not be proper for the government to make any comment on the floor of the House," Shukla said, leading to uproar and acrimonious exchanges between the treasury benches and the opposition.

While Tiruchi Siva (DMK) supported the government on the issue, V Maitreyan (AIADMK) demanded that the state's views should be heard first before deciding on the issue and said the report of the expert committed should have been accepted by the government.

PTI
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