With Congress gunning for HRD Minister Smriti Irani with a Privilege Motion, BJP today hit back in Lok Sabha by pressing for similar action against the opposition party’s Chief Whip Jyotiraditya Scindia for “defamatory” remarks against Minister Bandaru Dattatreya.
BJP’s Chief Whip Arjun Ram Meghwal accused Scindia of “misleading” the House on February 24 by alleging that Dattatreya had called Rohith Vemula, a Dalit student of Hyderabad University who committed suicide, “anti-national, casteist and extremist”.
Meghwal said he and many other members, including Dattatreya, had given a notice of breach of privilege against Scindia.
He raised the issue amid uproarious scenes in the House as AIADMK members were demanding action against former Union Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti in the Aircel-Maxis issue.
At this, Congress members too rushed to the Well, demanding that the Speaker decide on their privilege motion.
Dattatreya accused Scindia of “defaming him and tarnishing” his image by attributing such comments to him that he never made about Vemula.
“My mother used to sell onions. I have always worked for OBCs, Dalits… I have made sacrifices for Dalits,” he said, recalling his humble background and work for the downtrodden.
He said his letter to Irani, over which he has been attacked by Congress, made no mention of Vemula’s name. “I never made such charge against him.” Congress members continued to protest with K C Venugopal showing the rule book to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to which she shot back, saying “Don’t show me the rule book. I know.” She repeatedly tried to pacify the members saying all the notices for privilege motion are under her consideration.
With AIADMK and Congress members continuing to protest, she adjourned the House.
The issue of privilege motion against Irani had created a brief uproar in the Lok Sabha yesterday before Finance Minister Arun Jaitely started presenting the Union Budget 2016-17 with opposition members seeking to know the status of their notices against Irani for “misleading” the House on the Rohith Vemula issue.