BJP MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa’s statement on the AAP’s stance on a referendum in Kashmir led to ruckus in the Delhi Assembly Friday. The statement in question was a tweet by Sirsa that stated, “AAP leaders are wooing Muslim votes by asking for Referendum in Kashmir. Are these leaders the agents of Pakistan?” AAP MLA Alka Lamba said the statement implied that the AAP leadership was in “favour of a referendum”, which “was a lie”. But Sirsa claimed he had used the past tense and said “AAP was in favour of a referendum”.
Lamba said, “Sirsa is a false nationalist who is criticising the House and misrepresenting what is happening within it to the people. We will not allow him to speak… until he apologises.” In the ruckus that ensued, AAP legislators criticised Sirsa for “lying to the people” and “misrepresenting the House”, while Sirsa repeatedly told deputy speaker Rakhi Birla that he was “himself suggesting that the matter be issued to the Privileges Committee for investigation”.
Soon after, AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj read out Sirsa’s tweet and added: “Present continuous tense.” “This is what we call being street smart, where you are trying to misrepresent the issue,” Bhardwaj said. The issue dates back to 2014, when Prashant Bhushan — who has since parted ways with the party — had sparked a controversy by talking of a referendum in J&K to decide whether the people want the Army to handle internal security. Kejriwal had stepped in and distanced himself and the party from Bhushan’s view. “There is no question of a referendum on it. We do not support Prashant Bhushan’s statement,” he had said.
On Thursday, Sisodia, while talking about growing incidents of lynchings in India and criticising the BJP government, had said, “When issues are being discussed, it is their old habit to rake up Kashmir. When humanity is being discussed, the ground slips from under their feet… Kashmir is present in our hearts and hence is a part of India, not because of a resolution being passed.”