As the NDA continued efforts to appropriate B R Ambedkar’s legacy, JD(U) MP K C Tyagi hit back in the Rajya Sabha Tuesday: “If Babasaheb had been alive today, he would have never said — he would have lost a hundred elections but never said — that if you oppose me you will be sent to Pakistan… He would have never tried to foist politics of religion on the country and tried to create a theocratic state. He would have never let emotions rule over logic.”
He counted the Muslim representation in decision-making positions and pointed out that not one assembly has a Muslim Speaker. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad responded, “Had you given that chair to Abdul Bari Siddiqui in Bihar, that would not have been the case.”
Tyagi shot back, “What can I say to you when you did not even portray Nandkishore Yadav? Anyway there are one-and-a-half Muslim ministers in the Union cabinet, half a Muslim chief minister — Mufti saab is half, the other half is Nirmal Singh. There has been no Muslim chief of staff and only two of the 43 secretaries are Muslims. What Hindu rashtra are you out to create? We are already one.”
He paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi and the tradition of tolerance and the intolerance of dictatorship and fascism that Jawaharlal Nehru showed, as did Indira Gandhi as a young woman when she refused to accompany Nehru to London.
TMC’s Derek O’Brien took on both the Left and the Right, quoting E M S Namboodiripad to counter CPM leader Sitaram Yechury’s claims of communists’ role in the freedom movement. He accused Arun Jaitley of “cowboy constitutionalism” referring to the latter’s speech questioning the right of an indirectly elected house to block something the the directly elected house or the Lok Sabha endorses. Jaitley responded: “ In bicameral House- based democracies, it is a debate all over the world.”