Enraged over his description of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah as “infiltrators”, BJP members in the Lok Sabha on Monday demanded an apology from Congress floor leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
Chowdhury had on Sunday made the remark about Modi and Shah during a television debate on the issue of National Register of Citizens (NRC). He described Modi and Shah as “infiltrators” in Delhi because they had their homes in Gujarat.
As soon as Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi took on Chowdhury on Monday, the ruling party’s members sprang to their feet. Joshi referred to the foreign-origin of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and dubbed her an “infiltrator”. The minister said he was forced to draw this inference that the Congress led by an infiltrator will pursue others in a similar manner.
Joshi said Chowdhury’s remarks were an “outright insult” to the people who had given Modi a solid mandate in the last Lok Sabha polls. They showed that the Congress was still not prepared to come to terms with its defeat, the minister said. According to the minister, India’s prestige in the world had been enhanced under Modi’s leadership and an insult to him and Shah could not be tolerated. The minister wondered if Chowdhury could be called an infiltrator because he hailed from West Bengal.
“You will have to apologise,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said. BJP members also accused Chowdhury of running a “syndicate” in West Bengal to help Bangladeshi infiltrators become Indian citizens.
Chowdhury tried to explain his remarks and said he will apologise if the BJP was not satisfied with his response. However, he said that his family had come from what was Bangladesh today. “We do not have many documents so if somebody calls (us) an infiltrator, we cannot do much,” he said.
However, BJP members persisted with their protests and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla adjourned the House.
Earlier, there were angry exchanges between Chowdhury and BJP members during Question Hour as well. When Chowdhury rose to ask a supplementary related to the Steel Ministry, BJP members took a dig at him by repeatedly shouting “infiltrator”. “Yes, I am an infiltrator, I am a deemak (termite). Modi is an infiltrator. Amit Shah is an infiltrator. L K Advani is an infiltrator,” the Congress leader retaliated.
Petroleum and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan shot back, “Sab khulengi, aap ki paribhasha se desh nahi chalega (Everything will be exposed. The country will not be run by your definition).”
BJP members also created uproar in the Rajya Sabha over the issue. When the Upper House assembled after lunch, BJP member Bhupender Yadav raised a point of order and sought to condemn the Congress leader’s remarks.
This was opposed by Congress’s Digvijaya Singh and others. “This is not only the issue of this House or of that House”, this is a matter of dignity, Yadav said.
“Does any leader of a party have the right to use words such as ‘infiltrators’. Are we not insulting parliamentary democracy of this country by using such words,” he said.
Several BJP members left their seats to protest Chowdhury’s comments.
The Upper House has earlier condemned such issues which were against the dignity of Parliament, according to Yadav.
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh said he would look into the issue.
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