Sadhvi issue: PM says matter should end after her apology

Sadhvi issuePM says matter should end after her apologyNEW DELHI: After two days of storm, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today broke his silence over the row surrounding Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, saying he “strongly disapproved” of the comments of the “new Minister” who has apologized and the matter should end but the opposition remained adamant on her sacking.

While Modi virtually ruled out any action against Jyoti in his statement in Rajya Sabha, Opposition insisted that she has no right to continue as a Minister, contending that since she has apologized, it means she has committed a “crime”.

In the Lok Sabha too, the Opposition created uproar to press for a statement from the Prime Minister failing which they unitedly decided to boycott the House proceedings for the day today. Congress and Trinamool Congress staged a walkout.

In the Rajya Sabha where the opposition has been stalling the proceedings since Tuesday, Modi appealed to members to allow the House to function in national interest as Jyoti has already apologized.

Noting that the Minister is new, he said in the “heat” of elections, such comments should be avoided.

“Before this issue was raised in the House, I had put forth this matter before all our MPs…The minister is new, and she has come to Parliament for the first time. We are aware of her background. She has apologized.

“I believe that after her apology…this House has so many senior members with so much experience, they know what should be their feelings towards an apology,” Modi said.

“I appeal to the House that when the Minister has apologized…this is a message to all of us that in future we all should not cross the limits of dignity in terms of do’s and don’ts. I appeal to the House that we should work for the interest of the country,” the Prime Minister said.

However, opposition members wanted clarifications from the Prime Minister but were disallowed leading to protests and repeated adjournments. The House was adjourned for the day at 2.40 PM after five adjournments. .

The Prime Minister came to the Rajya Sabha at around 11.20 AM rpt 11.20 AM when it re-assembled after a 15-minute adjournment, amid vociferous demands for Jyoti’s resignation.

After Modi’s statement, Anand Sharma (Cong) said the Prime Minister should take strong action against the Minister as the Constitution does not permit such utterances.

Finance Minister and Leader of House Arun Jaitley said the Opposition had been demanding that the Prime Minister come to the House and make a statement. Now that Modi has made the statement, the House should get on to its business.

Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said the minister had not apologized and had merely expressed regret. “Assuming that she has apologized, then you apologies only when you have committed some crime,” he said demanding action against Jyoti.

Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said this is not the first time that such a statement has been made and there have been several such statements in an concerted effort to vitiate the communal atmosphere despite the Prime Minister’s slogan of ‘sabka sath, sabka vikas’ (With the support of all, progress for all).

As Opposition members did not relent and treasury benches objected to the repeated disruptions even after Prime Minister’s statement, Kurien said the issue has been under discussion for three days and no further discussion can be allowed.

“You cannot have discussion on the same subject every day,” he told the agitating opposition members.

He said members were yesterday complaining that their Zero Hour concerns could not be taken up due to disruptions.

“You are losing Zero Hour. Don’t blame us then,” he said.

DMK’s Tiruchi Siva asked why the Chair was depriving opportunity to one side to speak. Kurien shot back saying, “Don’t cast aspersions on the Chair… You are depriving right of 15 members (who have given zero hour notices).”

He said he has given Sharad Yadav floor to speak because he is senior member and after his statement Zero Hour will be taken up.

Order could not be restored in the House after that and Kurien adjourned the proceedings till noon. The House was adjourned again and again for five times, before Kurien called it a day at 2.40 PM.

Earlier, similar scenes were witnessed as soon as the House met for the day, with members of entire Opposition on their feet demanding Jyoti’s resignation. .

The Speaker told Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandhopadhyay that the notice for adjournment motion given by him was disallowed as the matter was not of urgent importance and therefore there was no need for him to speak.

Amid uproar, Bandhopadhyay said he was seeking to give a clarification as the name of Trinamool Congress and its member Tapas Pal was taken in the House yesterday by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.

He later led a walkout of his party members, protesting against he being denied the opportunity to have his say.

Naidu, who came to the House at this point of time, said he had not said anything out of context and he holds Mamata Banerjee in high esteem.

Taking a dig at the opposition, he remarked, “Everyday merely cursing will not do anything to this government.

People’s will prevail.” -PTI