Congress members created a ruckus during Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha Tuesday after their party colleague Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury raked up the issue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi not hosting an iftar party during the recent Ramzan period.
“Over the centuries, Indian civilisation has been preaching to the people of the world, ‘Live and let live’. Ever since our Prime Minister Shri Shri Narendra Modiji has come to power… he may go from Pashupati to Tirupati, there is no objection… He may burn as much ghee as he wishes (at Pashupatinath temple), there is no objection… However, after Independence, all PMs in our Hindustan had followed a tradition that during the month of Ramzan, an iftar party would be organised. Atal Bihari Vajpayee had been particularly following this tradition… However, what happened this time,” Chowdhury said.
This prompted BJP members to protest, and Speaker Sumitra Mahajan observed that “such personal remarks would not go on record”.
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“This is not the way,” she said to Chowdhury. “If you want a party, go to him.” Mahajan then moved on to the next Zero Hour mention, which was opposed by several Congress members who stood up in support of Chowdhury. They trooped into the Well, where they were joined by P K Biju and M B Rajesh of the CPM and Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav of the RJD. The Speaker then told Chowdhury, “This is not the forum for asking for an iftar party… I am sorry.”
Earlier, Trinamool Congress floor leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay also referred to the PM’s ghee offering and special puja at Pashupatinath temple. “We are all happy to see that. I appreciate it,” he said. However, he added that “it was equally expected that the prime minister should communicate Eid Mubarak to others also”.
“There are common sentiments, ethos and feelings of the country… All sections of people should be greeted with Happy Vijayadashmi at the time of Vijayadashmi and Eid Mubarak at the time of Eid. Why is there such a difference?” Bandyopadhyay asked.
As BJP members protested, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said, “I want to put the record straight, this government believes in Sarva Dharma Sambhava… The prime minister visited Pashupatinath Temple. He has also given his Eid greetings to the whole Muslim community across the country. It has been widely published.”
Incidentally, Modi had used his Twitter handle @narendramodi to wish people on Eid-ul-Fitr.