Rajya Sabha was paralysed for the second consecutive on Friday, with some opposition parties gunning for minister V K Singh for his ‘dog’ remarks and some others creating ruckus over Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat’s reported comments on Ram temple.
No government business could be transacted as the house was adjourned repeatedly as members of Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress pressed for ouster of Singh from the council of ministers as well as Parliament for ‘dog’ analogy after the killing of two Dalit children in Haryana.
Adding to the pandemonium, members of Samajwadi Party protested against Bhagwat’s remarks that ‘ground should be prepared’ for building RamTemple in Ayodhya and demanded action against him.
The government ruled out any action against Singh, arguing that he has already clarified on the issue.
With regard to Bhagwat’s comments, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said people have “fundamental right” to reiterate commitment for construction of a temple but the government will respect the court’s decision.
Ruckus began soon after the house met for the day and mourned the death of former member M A M Ramaswamy.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said the government’s attitude over Singh’s comments was “very sad and unfortunate”.
As Deputy Chairman P J Kurien disallowed her and asked her to give a notice for making a statement, her party members rushed into the Well raising anti-government slogans.
Not to be left behind, Naresh Agarwal of the SP raised the issue of Bhagwat’s comments.
Kurien did not allow this as well and asked them to make mentions during the Zero Hour. “Please give notice. This is against rules. You cannot make a statement without notice,” he said. Immediately thereafter, SP members rushed into the well of the house raising slogans.
Mayawati alleged that social and communal atmosphere in the country has deteriorated since BJP came to power, as the government instead of taking action against the rabble-rousers was indulging in soft-peddling such issues.
“Dalit virodhi yeh sarkar nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi (anti-Dalit government will not be allowed)”, “V K Singh murdabad (down with V K Singh)”, the BSP members shouted.
With members of the two parties not listening to his pleas for order, Kurien adjourned the house for 15 minutes.
Similar scenes were seen when the house met at 11.30 am with slogan-shouting BSP members again trooping into the well.
Ram Gopal Yadav of the SP said while the issue of RamTemple at Ayodhya was pending in courts, a communally tense situation was being created by Bhagwat’s statement.
Alleging collusion between government and RSS, he sought action against Bhagwat. Some of his party members too trooped in the well.
To this, Naqvi said, “We want to clarify that the issue of construction of RamTemple...is in court and we all respect decision of court and we should respect. As far as commitment (sankalp) for construction of RamTemple is concerned, everybody has the right to reiterate that commitment and to reiterate that commitment they have fundamental right.
“But in case of construction, it is our clear view that construction should be as per the court’s decision and everybody should honour the court’s decision.”
On Singh’s reported remarks, Naqvi said, “If anybody insults Dalit, we are not with them. As far as V K Singh is concerned, we have said very clearly that we are committed to honour, security and well-being of Dalits and we are honest. If anybody insults them, we are not with them.”
He added that V K Singh “has repeatedly clarified that he has not said any such thing which insults Dalit samaj. If Mayawati ji feels, we accept that this pain should be there… but if somebody has issued clarification we feel the issue closes there.”
This, however, could not douse the sloganeering as some Congress members also rushed to the well, forcing Kurien to adjourn the proceedings till 12 noon.
Soon after the house met at noon with Chairman Hamid Ansari announcing Question Hour, BSP members were on their feet again and trooped into the well raising the pitch for ouster of Singh.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said though he does not like to raise issues in Zero Hour or Question Hour but this was a very serious issue.
He recalled how the house had invoked the Constitution and recommitted itself for providing justice to Dalits, poor and oppressed, but lamented that merely passing resolutions in this regard were not enough.
“I would urge the PM that one cannot take the lead by passing a resolution, he should take some action. If action is taken from home, as we say that even charity begins at home, that is why opposition parties have been demanding that a minister like V K Singh, instead of condemning the killing of Dalit children, is making a comparison with dogs. This is very bad for the entire country as well as the House.
“Such a minister, I feel, should not be a member of the Union Cabinet for even a minute and he should neither be a member of Parliament. I request the government to not just remove V K Singh from the Cabinet but also from Parliament,” he said.