Rahul Gandhi in forefront as opposition protests in LS

Rahul Gandhi in forefront as opp protests in LSNEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi, who has been accused of being inactive in Parliament, was today in the forefront as his party Congress along with other opposition parties created uproar in Lok Sabha while demanding urgent discussion on the communal situation in the country.

The combative Congress Vice President, who is a third time member of the House, entered the Well for first time to join his party members in demanding an adjournment motion on the issue which was opposed by the government.

As the House assembled for the day, Congress pressed for suspending the Question Hour to take up the motion.

Rahul joined his party colleagues in slogan shouting in the Well against the government after he was seen having some discussion with his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

Amid the din, the Question Hour went on except for a brief adjournment.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, while opposing the motion, said there was no communal tension in the country.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan assured the Congress members that they could raise the issue during Zero Hour.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the House during the din.

During the Zero Hour, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge made a strong pitch for taking up the matter through an adjournment motion, saying there were several such precedents.

Attacking the government, Kharge said, “Since this government has come to power, communal riots are spreading everywhere. Who is behind it? That has to be discussed.”

This triggered vociferous protests from BJP members.

Kharge claimed that the discussion should be held as communal violence was spreading everywhere and it was the duty of all those in the House to maintain peace in the country.

Kharge was immediately supported by Tariq Anwar (NCP) but the Parliamentary Affairs Minister dismissed it as a baseless allegation. “It is objectionable. There is peace in the country and there should also be peace in the House,” he said.

Congress, RJD, SP, RSP and AAP members were in the Well raising slogans like “we want justice” and shouting “Pradhan Mantri kahan gaye, bhag gaye, bhag gaye (where is the Prime Minister? Has run away, run away).”

The Speaker asked Kharge to specify where such incidents have taken place, to which the Congress leader said “at many places”.

Immediately, Naidu got up to term it as “a sweeping allegation and I condemn it. The country is safe and secure under the leadership of Narendra Modi.”

When Mahajan asked Congress members to give a notice which could be taken up at the next meeting of the Business Advisory Committee, Kharge said, “We have given two notices – one under Rule 193 (special discussion) and the other an adjournment motion. You can straight away convert the motion into a special discussion.”

The notice for adjournment motion was given by Kharge, Congress whip K C Venugopal and E Ahamed of IUML.

When the Speaker insisted that the matter could be decided by the BAC, Kharge said, “This is partiality by the government. If you can convert a calling attention motion into a special discussion, then why can’t you do so for adjournment motion? It is not correct. This is injustice. We want justice.”

As opposition members continued slogan-shouting in the Well, the Speaker asked other members to raise issues of public importance in the Zero Hour, amid the din.

Amidst the protest, Congress leaders, including Rahul, were seen consulting Sonia Gandhi. As soon as the House assembled at 2 PM, Kharge sought a response from the Chair on whether their adjournment motion to take up a debate on communal situation in the country has been accepted.

K V Thomas, who was in the Chair, said the Speaker has disallowed it and perhaps a discussion under Rule 193 can be decided by the Business Advisory Committee.

Soon, Mahajan took over the proceedings from Thomas.

Kharge said as the committee had met yesterday only, Congress would prefer to have the discussion today or at the most tomorrow.

Mahajan said members would have to trust her and she will allow a discussion on the subject as soon as the SEBI Bill and discussion on atrocities on women and children is over,

She said she was ruling out a discussion on communal situation even on Friday.

Kharge said he trusts her. “All we want is that you should look at our side too. We may lack the numbers, but you should keep us in mind,” he said.

At this, BJP members said Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has expressed lack of faith in Speaker.

Naidu said government is open to discussion on the issue provided what is on the agenda is completed.–PTI