Azad remark raises a storm in Rajya Sabha
- BJP demands Cong apology
- Parliament stalled again
New Delhi /Hyderabad: The BJP-led NDA government at the Centre wanted the Congress to make its stand clear on the controversial comment made by its party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad in the Rajya Sabha on the issue of demonetization of big currency notes.
Opposition members in the Upper House of Parliament wanted the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the debate on the demonetization crisis on Thursday and created pandemonium in the Rajya Sabha. Amidst the ruckus, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad commented that the number of deaths due to demonetization was more than that in Pakistan firing in Uri. This remark by Azad triggered loud protests from the BJP. Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Venkaiah Naidu demanded the Deputy Chairman, who was presiding, to expunge the comment. He also wanted an apology from the Congress party for “insulting the sentiments of the Uri martyrs”.
Though the remarks by Azad were expunged from records later, it had not cooled down the tempers of the BJP members, who used it to launch a counter attack on Congress, which was leading the logjam of the proceedings in both the Houses of Parliament. Even as the opposition members, led by Congress leaders, once again stormed the well of the Rajya Sabha and stalled the proceedings demanding the presence of the Prime Minister in the House to reply to their debate, the BJP members too, including some ministers, stood up and demanded an apology from Congress for Azad’s remarks. Thus the protests by the opposition and counter protests by the ruling BJP ultimately led to the House being repeatedly adjourned.
Speaking to the media later, Venkaiah Naidu termed the remarks of Azad as “anti national” and wanted whether the Congress, which had ruled the country for over six decades, should make its stand clear as to whether it endorsed its member’s remark or stood by the country and apologize for its member’s brash behaviour. He asserted that the Congress member had not only hurt the sentiments of those families which had sacrificed the lives of their kin for the nation but also insulted the entire country.
Venkaiah Naidu further said the Congress seemed to be not interested in weeding out black money and fake currency and hence was creating hurdles for the smooth functioning of Parliament. The government was prepared to answer all the queries of the opposition members and the Prime Minister would also reply at an appropriate time.