Opposition parties staged a walkout Wednesday after making an attempt to disrupt proceedings in the Lok Sabha to press for an apology by Minister of State V K Singh for what they described as his “anti-Dalit” comment. In October, amid the outcry over the killing of two Dalit children in Haryana, Singh had said local incidents should not be associated with the Centre and drawn an analogy with stones being thrown at a dog.
Congress members came into the well Wednesday and shouted slogans against Singh throughout question hour. MPs of the Trinamool Congress, CPM and the NCP backed them, first by remaining standing and later by joining the walkout. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, however, conducted question hour amid the protest in the well. Trinamool Congress MPs sent out conflicting signals as they participated both in the proceedings and in the protests.
Singh sat through as Congress members shouted: “Mantriji hosh mein aao”, “V K Singh istifa do” and “V K Singh maafi mango”. Most of the shouting came from Rajiv Satav, Sushmita Deb and Ravneet Singh Bittu.
Leader of the Congress Mallikarjun Kharge tried to have his say after question hour but Mahajan did not let him. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu took exception to the use of derogatory words against V K Singh by the Congress. He said: “You people shout slogans against the prime minister… Please have some tolerance for the mandate of the people also. People have given their mandate to us.” Naidu also pleaded with Mahajan to ensure comments against a particular community did not go on record. He maintained Singh had not made any comment about Dalits and there was no reason for the Opposition to raise the issue again and again.
Mahajan told Kharge the matter had figured in the discussion on intolerance and the reply of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, though Congress members had walked out of the House then. Consequently, a protesting Kharge led a walkout Wednesday too.
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