The ongoing impasse in the Lok Sabha seemed to worsen on Friday when, after his statement on the Gurdaspur terror attack, Home Minister Rajnath Singh first appealed that Parliament should not appear ‘divided’ on terrorism, and later blamed the Congress for coining the term “Hindu terror”. This had “weakened” India’s fight against terrorism, he said.
Singh’s statement ended up creating more of a division in the House, with the Congress accusing him of “doing politics” over terror attacks. It also gave more ammunition to an already agitated Opposition, which has been asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ‘break his silence’ over LalitGate and the Vyapam scam since the Monsoon Session began on July 21.
After Question Hour and the laying of papers amid the din, Congress and Left MPs in the well of the House heeded to the Speaker’s appeal to return to their seats as the Home Minister wanted to make a statement on Gurdaspur.
All was quiet as Singh spoke, condemning the terror attack and linking it to Pakistan. After the statement ended, Congress MPs headed to the well again, when Singh shot back and raked up Congress “failures”, citing the Sharm-el Sheikh fiasco, statements at the Havana NAM Summit and the 1962 war with China.
“In this House in 2013, the then Home Minister (P Chidambaram) had coined a new term ‘Hindu terrorism’ in order to change the direction of the probe. It weakened our fight. As a consequence, Hafiz Saeed (founder of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba) of Pakistan had congratulated the then Home Minister. Our government will never allow such a shameful situation again.”Kharge’s charge
Angry Congress members demanded that their leader Mallikarjun Kharge be allowed to react, but the Speaker refused and adjourned the House, making matters worse.
“This is very unfortunate. You are losing our respect…You can’t preach about rules and also flout them,” Congress leader Kharge was heard saying later.
Later, charging Singh with “dividing Parliament by making a political speech on terror, against which the entire country is one”, Kharge was seen appealing to Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai to expunge Singh’s comments made after his statement. His demand was turned down.