The BJP-led NDA government is bracing up for a tough week in Parliament starting Monday, with Opposition parties giving a number of notices in both Houses seeking a debate on ‘intolerance’ in society and action against some ministers for their alleged provocative remarks.
Congress and JD-U have given notices in Rajya Sabha to discuss the issue after suspension of business under Rule 267, while in Lok Sabha Congress and CPI-M have submitted notices for a debate under rule 193, which does not entail voting or require suspension of business.
5:47 pm Trivedi calls for unity and ends his speech with famous Iqbal’s line – ‘Majhab Nahi seekhata aapas me bair rakhna’.
5:46 pm: Difference doesn’t mean defiance. Difference is must in democracy otherwise there will be one party rule in this country: Trivedi
5:44 pm It’s time to maintain the dignity of the Parliament. A radio jockey on a channel last evening said if you want to see ‘Tamasha’ without going to theatre, you can watch the proceedings of Lok Sabha. This shows the reflection of people’s perception about Parliament: Trivedi
5:35 pm: Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi speaking in Lok Sabha.
5:32 pm Opposition’s effort to prove that the country today is intolerant will fail: Lekhi
5:27 pm Intolerance is condemnable so are misinterpreted statements: Lekhi
5:20 pm Author Salman Rushdie’s book was banned in 80s when Congress was in power. And in 2012 he was not even allowed in a video conference. And today Congress leader is saying it was a mistake: Lekhi
5:15 pm: Section 66 A and press code was brought by Congress government. It shows how tolerant they were: Lekhi
5:12 pm: Why did Award Wapsi brigade not see 84 riots, Nellie massacre, riots in Hashimpura,Muzaffarnagar? Lekhi
5:08 pm Police raided Kerala house fearing another incidents like Dadri, says Lekhi as Congress MP raise slogans against government.
5:05 pm Dadri and Kalburgi are state subjects. Why are the state government not being questioned? How can the government at Centre be questioned for those incidents? Lekhi
5:04 pm Acts against cow slaughter was passed in various Congress-ruled states in past. But questions are being raised against BJP today: Lekhi
5:02 pm: Congress has followed the British way of divide and rule. Divide the majority and minority and play politics: Lekhi
4:59 pm: India is not an intolerant country and there is no evidence of intolerance to proof: Lekhi
4:59 pm: Incidents of communal violence have actually declined in last one year: Lekhi
4:57 pm: BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi replies to Venugopal’s allegations.
4:46 pm: Venugopal ends his speech with Rabindranath Tagore’s poem ‘Where the mind is without fear’
4:48 pm BJP president says strong action will be taken against those making irresponsible statement. But what did he say during Bihar rally, that if BJP loses in Bihar, people in Pakistan will celebrate. We didn’t see any celebrations in Pakistan. But people in India celebrated: Venugopal
4:47 pm No action by this government over these incidents. PM keeps complete silence when questioned on intolerance: Venugopal
4:44 pm Assam Governor is saying Hindustan is for Hindus, others can got anywhere else. Haryana CM is saying those who want to eat beef can go to Pakistan. What has been your reaction? Venugopal
4:41 pm: If anyone question the government only reply he get is go to Pakistan: Venugopal
4:41 pm: Actors like Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan expressed their fear. But the reaction on there comments shows the depth of intolerance in the country: Venugopal
4:39 pm: We want you to sack minister VK Singh for his defamatory remark against minorities: Venugopal
4:38 pm Sudheendra Kulkarni face was smeared for hosting former Pakistan foreign minister by Shiv Sainiks. Concert of Ghulam Ali was cancelled following Shiv Sena threat. Scared of these incidents cricket umpire from Pakistan Aleem Dar pulled out of India-South Africa series. This is so unfortunate: Venugopal
4:34 pm: What actions have been taken against those policemen: Venugopal
4:31 pm: Delhi police raided Kerala house for illegally serving beef without even following procedure. Who had given them the authority to raid Kerala house: Venugopal
4:30 pm: PM didn’t mention these incidents (Dadri, Kalburgi killing) during his rallies, but wished Lata Mangeshkar on her birthday on Twitter: Venugopal
4:28 pm: Kalburgi was killed for expressing his views. In Dadri, a man was killed based on communal rumors: KC Venugopal
4:21 pm: KC Venugopal from Congress raises issue of intolerance and PM’s silence on it.
4:00 pm: Lok Sabha session resumes.
3.15 pm: Lok Sabha adjourned again for 40 minutes till 4 pm
3.00 pm: Lok Sabha adjourned again till 3:15 pm
2.05 pm: Let govt take action, ridiculous for House to be stalled, says Salim
As the House reconvened at 2.05 pm, Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy urged CPI-M MP Salim to withdraw his statement till the quote attributed to Rajnath Singh is proved. Salim, however, refused to withdraw his statement saying it was ‘ridiculous’ on the part of the government to ask him to withdraw his statement.
“You are in power, order a probe and investigate. As a reader (of the magazine) I have quoted what I said. I bought the magazine,” Salim said, adding, “I will not abide by any other ruling except that of the Chair.”
The House was then adjourned till 2.05 pm
1.05 pm: Withdraw statement till authenticity is proved, says Rajiv Pratap Rudy
BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy said MP Salim should withdraw his statement till the journalist substantiates his article. Speaker Mahajan then adjourned the House for an hour. Proceedings will resume at 2.05 pm. The Speaker also expunged Salim’s comment for now.
Rajnath Singh had earlier demanded an apology from Salim, saying he was never hurt this much in his entire political career. “When have I said such a thing? Prove it or apologise,” Singh told Salim.
12. 45 pm: Uproar in Lok Sabha over ‘Rajnath Singh’s’ quote
As MP Salim quoted Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh from an Outlook Magazine article, BJP MPs in the House protested, with Rajnath Singh himself saying “this is a serious allegation against me and I have never said any such thing.”
The contentious quote, as published in Outlook Magazine, is: “The current strife is uncharted territory. It has the imprimatur of the “first Hindu ruler after 800 years” (to quote Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Modi’s election victory). ”
Reacting to the controversy, Singh condemned the statement and denied having ever said such a statement. Singh said: “Even minorities in this country know that Rajnath Singh can never make such a statement.”
Speaker Mahajan then said that the journalist who has quoted the Union Home Minister should substantiate the quote.
12.25 pm: Discussion on ‘intolerance’ begins in Lok Sabha
Raiganj MP Mohammad Salim (CPI-M) initiated the discussion on ‘intolerance’ in the country saying democracy is all about discussion, debate and dissent.
“Before people used to say NDA’s ‘hidden agenda’ now it’s no longer hidden. It’s all open,” Salim said. “They also talk about ‘fringe elements’. Who are these ‘fringe elements’? Ministers? Members of Parliament?… They compare Dalits to dogs,” he added.
“This isn’t a fascist country, it’s a democratic country. We want rational and secular India,” Salim.
“You don’t need to keep your ear to the ground. Along with your ‘outgoing calls’ you need to also allow ‘incoming calls’,” Salim said, referring to PM Modi’s one-way communication of Mann ki Baat.
12.15 pm: Issue of price rise is important, says Veerappa Moily
Congress MP Veerappa Moily raised the issue of price rise saying it was a pressing issue and it needs to be discussed at the earliest. “Price rise is even linked to malnutrition,” Moily said.
“It cannot be washed away. It’s an important issue. I want a positive indication,” Moily said, after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the government was ready to discuss when the Speaker permits.
Speaking in Rajya Sabha, Maywati hit out at Prime Minister for his ‘double standards’, saying: “Lord Buddha gave the message of humanity and peace, a message which is much needed right now. Prime Minster Modi speaks of the greatness of Buddhism when he travels abroad but in India, he and his colleagues’s actions are against those teachings.”
“It would have been better if during the Constitution debate Prime Minister Modi had announced strong schemes for the weaker sections of society,” Mayawati said.
11.25 am: There is some intolerance in some parts of India: Naidu
Naidu, speaking in Rajya Sabha, said there was some level of intolerance in parts of the country, but it wasn’t as if these issues came up only during Modi’s rule. Naidu said such issues, including statements made by certain leaders, should be condemned and they should be sidelined.
“Let us tolerate the mandate of the people, we must respect that, whether you like it or not is not the issue,” Naidu said.
Ansari: Venkaiahji you might exhaust the rest of your party’s (speaking) time. Naidu: Sir, my party has remaining time of 3.5 years.
11. 13 am: Venkaiah Naidu initiates discussion on Constitution in Rajya Sabha
On day two of Rajya Sabha, Union Minister Naidu led the discussion on the Constitution of India, speaking of how leaders of the country need to be honoured for their contribution.
He also spoke of reservations in the country as well as states in the country that are currently backward. The issue of certain regions demanding statehood was also part of his discussion.
“Everyone wants to be backward. That’s the flavour of the season,” Venkaiah Naidu said.
11.10 am: No need to suspend Question Hour to discuss price rise, intolerance
Dismissing all suspension motions, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said while the issues of price rise and intolerance were important, there was no need to suspend Question Hour and that the discussions would take place later in the day.
The Opposition, however, did not disrupt the House over the Speaker’s decision, and the Question Hour followed with HRD Minister Smriti Irani responding to questions on education in the country.
11.00 am: No point in discussing hypothetical questions, says Kharge
Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Malikarjun Kharge today said the discussion on intolerance will come up whenever the Speaker decides to schedule it.
When asked about how the debate is likely to progress, Kharge said: “We can only comment after discussion takes place in the Lok Sabha”
Be it fabricated ‘intolerance issue’, we’ve a tolerant approach. We are willing to discuss all issues: MA Naqvi pic.twitter.com/rWkYVPzDSs
— ANI (@ANI_news) November 30, 2015
The first two days of the session that began on November 26 were functional as parties did not want to be seen blocking a discussion on the Constitution on the occasion of Ambedkar’s anniversary even though the opposition attacked the government over alleged rise in intolerance and communal violence.
With most opposition parties keen on aggressively raising the issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said though the government does not agree with their perception of rising intolerance it was “willing to go along with the opposition in this regard for a discussion in an appropriate manner”.
He had also contended that such incidents lie in the domain of the state governments, which are vested with responsibility to maintain law and order.
At the all-party meeting held on November 25 in the backdrop of actor Aamir Khan’s remarks on “growing intolerance”, opposition parties had made a strong pitch for an early discussion on the issue, insisting that returning of awards by writers, artistes and filmmakers should not be taken lightly.
“The real confrontation will be there this week when the government brings its legislative agenda on the table. Congress, JD-U, CPI-M, CPI and Trinamool Congress have given separate notices to seek a discussion with and without voting, pass a resolution by the House and seek action against ministers making provocative speeches.
“Much depends on how the government responds to the opposition’s issues,” said a senior opposition party leader on condition of anonymity.
The Congress’ notice has been moved by Deputy Leader of Opposition in the House Anand Sharma and the party plans to attack the government over alleged “orchestrated campaign to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation” and also raise issues like returning of awards by celebrated writers and others from the intelligensia.
The notice by Sharma, which also seeks passing of a resolution by the House, condemns the “assault on the freedom of expression”.
In a tweet, JD-U President Sharad Yadav said, “PM should have assured d country in his speech that there shall not be any communal violence which is on rise after NDA Govt came to power.”
CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has also given a notice in Rajya Sabha seeking passage of a one-line resolution by the House condemning incidents of “intolerance” and asking the government to ensure that they do not happen again.
In the Lok Sabha, the notices of CPI(M) member P Karunakaran and Congress MP K C Venugopal for a discussion on the matter has been listed for Monday.
The opposition has been seeking a discussion on the issue of intolerance for quite some time.
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