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In Parliament: Don’t indulge in allegations, says Speaker amid Maran-Goyal spat

🔴There was a heated spat between DMK's Dayanidhi Maran and Union Minister Piyush Goyal, during which terms that had to be expunged from the records were used.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi |
Updated: December 9, 2021 7:25:11 am
Parliament news, Parliament news today, Piyush Goyal Maran spat parliament, Parliament latest newsUnion Minister Piyush Goyal and DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran.

Amid heated exchanges between Opposition and Treasury benches in Lok Sabha, Speaker Om Birla on Wednesday asked members of both sides not to indulge in allegations or counter allegations during Question Hour and Zero Hour.

“I would urge you not to indulge in allegations and counter allegations during Question Hour… you should stick to the question as listed,” Birla told both sides of the House.

This followed a heated spat between DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran and Union Minister Piyush Goyal, during which terms that had to be expunged from the records were used.

During a question on 4G cellphones, Maran wanted to know when 4G and 5G services would be provided to BSNL and MTNL. “The former telecom minister had assured in this House… Till date, we have seen no signs of BSNL or MTNL starting 4G services. In fact, they have been losing customers to Jio, which is supported by the government where the Prime Minister himself was in the photo of the advertisement,” Maran said, provoking Goyal to take offence to the reference to the Prime Minister. But Maran repeated it and said he was stating a fact.

Goyal along with colleagues, including Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, protested, saying there were irregularities during the UPA regime in which Maran was a minister. “He called me corrupt. How can he call me [that] when I have been given a clean chit?” Maran shouted.

With more opposition MPs backing Maran, the Speaker asked both sides not to indulge in allegations.

However, when Communication Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw replied, he slammed the Opposition. “People who have a very different past are trying to make allegations. I would like to understand the reason why BSNL went into such a bad situation. Who are responsible for that?” he said amidst Opposition uproar.

Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking the telecom sector out of a “difficult situation”, Vaishnaw said: “First time, the government is taking steps to develop our own indigenous 4G and 5G technologies, which will be our own 4G and 5G core technology. We will prove to the world that Indian engineers, Indian scientists are going to develop the best core technology, the best radio technology where our products will go out to the world, not like the situation when some of our friends almost killed the organisation because of their own actions.”

Replying to a question raised by Congress MP Manish Tewari, Vaishnaw said India has moved ahead of the curve when it comes to decisions on the purchase of telecom equipment, components and system from a trusted source because it has “serious repercussions on technology-based security”. “So, without taking the name of any particular company, I would like to say that whatever procurement is happening for 5G, it is happening under the trusted sources regime,” he said.

Tewari had asked whether the government refused permission to Chinese company Huawei to participate in the 5G trial as it was deemed to be a security risk.

Vaishnaw took a swipe at the opposition when Congress MP Hibi Eden asked whether the government has plans to strengthen cyber laws in the wake of the cyber world becoming more accessible to children due to pandemic restrictions. “If we tighten the cyber laws even a little, there would be hue and cry over it saying that we are trying to strangle the Constitution. We did that, we did this… With cyber crime affecting the children and with the speed its dimensions are changing, I must say there is an increasing impression that there’s need for stringent regulation on them,” he said.

If the Question Hour witnessed angry exchanges between the Opposition and Treasury benches, the Zero Hour witnessed opposition MPs shouting at each other.

When CPI(M) MP A M Arif from Kerala raised the issue of “unannounced release of water” from Mullaperiyar dam, the MPs from Tamil Nadu protested. Pointing out that those living downstream have been living in fear, Arif said the “only permanent solution to the eternal threat” is to “build a new dam in the downstream reaches of the existing dam” and sought the Centre’s intervention.

When Tamil Nadu MPs stood up to say the dam is safe, sir, other MPs from Kerala rose to shout him down. The melee went on for a few minutes till the Speaker intervened to calm both the MPs down.

Later, Arif took strong exception to his fellow Kerala MP and IUML leader Mohammad Basheer seeking the Centre’s intervention in making Kerala’s LDF government stop its semi-high speed rail project, saying it is “harmful” for the interests of the state. He said the project was undertaken without necessary surveys, to which Arif protested loudly.

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