Sadhvi’s remark rocks Parliament

Our Bureau Agencies New Delhi | Updated on November 25, 2017 Published on December 02, 2014

Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti

Opposition demands Minister’s resignation while BJP calls it a ‘slip of the tongue’

Controversial remarks by Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti rocked Parliament on Tuesday, with the Rajya Sabha being paralysed for the day, as a united Opposition insisted on her being sacked despite her apology.

The controversy was over the Minister of State for Food Processing Industries allegedly saying at an election rally that all the people in the country are “the offspring of Ram”.

“Those who have sold the country, made it bankrupt, people will not voter for such people. Muslims offer namaz in mosques, we do no object. Christians pray in churches, we do not object. Then talking about Ram should not be termed as communal. And those who call me communal, I would say what could be more communal than this.

“And I would like to say one more thing — be it Hindu or a Christian in the country, he is an offspring of Ram. And those who refuse to believe this, will never believe in this country also,” she had said.

Not intended to hurt

The Opposition disturbed the proceedings of the both the Houses on her remarks.

While the Lok Sabha seemed to have accepted her apology for the remarks, the Rajya Sabha was disrupted for the day.

The Opposition has demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi give an explanation on the issue and file an FIR against the Minister for breaching the oath of office.

The remarks left the Modi government embarrassed as it faced the Opposition’s ire, following which Jyoti expressed “deep regret” over her actions and said she did not intend to hurt anyone’s feelings.

“A mere apology will not suffice. She will have to resign,” was the refrain of the Opposition members who stormed into the Well demanding her sacking.

BJP spokesman Sambit Patra said it was a “slip of tongue” and the issue should not be politicised.

“The Prime Minister should give an explanation,” Congress leader Anand Sharma said.

Members of the Congress, TMC, SP and other opposition parties rushed to the Well, leading to repeated adjournments.

CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury cited a Supreme Court as well as a Calcutta High Court order to drive home the point that mere apology is not enough and an FIR should be filed against her and she should be sacked.

Yechury’s argument got instant support from the TMC, Congress, SP, JD(U) and Left parties.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi sought to calm down the Opposition by contending that Jyoti has already apologised and the matter should be put to rest in keeping with tradition.

But the Opposition remained adamant as Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien expressed his inability to take action, saying the remarks were made outside the House.

Secular ethos

BSP chief Mayawati said the Minister’s remarks were against the secular ethos espoused by the Constitution and do not behold a person occupying a constitutional post. The BJP should sack her, she added.

The Congress alleged that Jyoti had insulted the people of Delhi, while the AAP said it is the BJP’s real face.

AAP leader Manish Sisodia said: “This is the real character of BJP. Their language shows what kind of work they are doing at the Centre and what kind of work they will do for Delhi.”

The BJP hit out at the Congress, saying several of its leaders had made objectionable remarks in the past.

“But have they ever been asked to resign. When did Congress sack them from the party? And they are called experienced leaders while Sadhvi Niranjan has become MP for the first time,” UP BJP chief Laxmikant Bajpai said.

Jyoti has been elected from Fatehpur Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

The issue is likely to affect the speed at which both the Houses are taking up legislative business.

Published on December 02, 2014
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