The Congress, on 2 December, forced adjournments in the Rajya Sabha, protesting “misleading” statements given by Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Piyush Goyal against former minister Kumari Selja.
At the same time, the opposition created a din during Question Hour in the Lok Sabha, demanding the sacking of Union minister VK Singh for his anti-Dalit remarks.
After some 40 minutes of uproar, despite Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s requests to the MPs to calm down fell on deaf ears, an upset Prime Minister Narendra Modi left the house.
Demanding an apology from Singh for his remarks, Congress MPs rushed to the well of the House shouting slogans, as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan disallowed all notices for Question Hour adjournment.
Parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu suggested a discussion on rain and floods in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh be taken up, but the Congress continued to raise slogans against Singh. Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge wanted to know what action the PM planned to take against Singh. Once the Question Hour got over, Mahajan requested the opposition to let the House function, but instead the MPs walked out.
Meanwhile, Selja had created a stir in the Rajya Sabha during the debate on commitment to the Constitution, on 1 December, claiming she was asked about her caste when she had visited a temple in Dwarka, Gujarat, as a minister during the UPA rule.
Shouting slogans, the Congress MPs rushed to the well forcing adjournments—the first one for 10 minutes, then till noon, and thereafter till 2pm—saying the government’s statements against Selja’s remarks were “misleading”.
Congress MPs were on their feet, along with some from the treasury benches, as Selja said, the ministers should have “some grace”.
When the House assembled and took up Zero Hour on 2 December, leader of the house Arun Jaitley, referring to the issue, said, Selja had, in fact, written positively about her experience and that there was no complaint. He also read her written comments at the temple.
To this, Selja said she was not referring to the main Dwarka temple, but ‘Bet Dwarka’. “Please do not mislead the House. That day, I had made it clear that it was ‘Bet Dwarka’ and not the main Dwarka (temple). Please don’t do this, Leader of the House. It doesn’t behove you.”
Meanwhile, power minister Piyush Goyal said, Congress was trying to manufacture problems and discrimination.
His comment agitated the Congress members who, led by Selja, rushed to the well. As the slogan shouting continued, deputy chairman PJ Kurien tried to pacify them. As his pleas went unheeded, he adjourned the House for 10 minutes. When the House reassembled, there were similar scenes and Kurien adjourned the proceedings till 12 noon and again till 2pm.