Video Producer: Naman Shah
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
The government on Thursday, 12 August, said that the Opposition must apologise to the nation, as several Union Ministers addressed a press conference a short while after visuals emerged of the ruckus in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, which showed members of the Opposition jostling with marshals in the Upper House.
The Opposition has claimed that outsiders were brought in on Wednesday to manhandle MPs and addressed the media on Thursday, complaining about the behaviour, as well as lashing out at the government for not letting them raise issues during the Monsoon Session.
Meanwhile, ANI quoted the Vice-President secretariat as informing that Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, in a meeting with Speaker Lok Sabha Om Birla, reviewed the purportedly "unfortunate" sequence of events in the Parliament.
Further, as per the secretariat, the vice-president and the speaker expressed "deep concern about the disruptive behaviour of some parliamentarians".
"They strongly felt that such unruly behaviour should not be tolerated and appropriate action should be taken," the secretariat added.
The government, however, countered these allegations on Thursday, saying that the "Congress and its allies" were to blame for Parliament not having been able to function.
"People wait for their issues to be raised in Parliament. Whereas anarchy remained the Opposition's agenda. They didn't care about people, taxpayers' money. What happened was condemnable. Instead of shedding crocodile tears, they must apologise to nation," Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur said on Thursday, according to news agency ANI.
"The day before yesterday, some MPs climbed on top of the tables (in Parliament). They were feeling proud of themselves. They thought they've done something great. They tweeted after shooting its video," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi added.
Further, Joshi claimed that they had to take a decision to end the monsoon session early because: "... and I am quoting the opposition, (they were) literally threatening that if we attempt to pass other bills (after the OBC and Insurance bills) there will be even more serious damage in Parliament,"
Union Minister Anurag Thakur also had sharp words for the Opposition, pointing out that the Secretary General's table in Rajya Sabha is not meant for dancing and protesting.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal meanwhile called Opposition behaviour in Rajya Sabha "a new low of parliamentary democracy".
What Else Did Union Minister Piyush Goyal Say?
Dubbing the Opposition's approach 'my way or highway', Union minister Piyush Goyal called it condemnable and said that the "the country also condemns such attitude".
The cabinet minister, according to ANI, alleged that the Opposition is unable to "digest fact that country has given up on them".
What About Other BJP Ministers?
Claiming that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has referred to the incident as the "murder of democracy", Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, on his part, said, "The nation can see what they (the Opposition leaders) did in Parliament."
Appealing to their sense of responsibility Joshi, as per media reports, also urged the Opposition to apologise to the country.
He said that the BJP ministers have demanded strict action against the Opposition leaders from the chairman.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Anurag Thakur was quoted as saying: "The PM had told the new ministers to go to Rajya Sabha and listen to quality debates."
But, Thakur claimed, the new minsters, in their feedback, asked: "What are the tables for? To dance on, or is there some other purpose of the tables?"
"Were ministers asked to come to this RS where democracy is insulted?" he added, as purported part of their 'feedback'.
What Did the Video Show?
An 2.5-minute video that was released on Thursday showed MPs and uniformed marshals seemingly trying to restrain them, in an incident that took place on Wednesday in the Rajya Sabha.
The CCTV footage shows Opposition members tearing papers and throwing them in the air. Meanwhile, one MP can also be seen atop a table.
What Did the Opposition Say?
Earlier on Thursday, several members of the Opposition had reacted sharply to what they claimed was manhandling of their members, and issued a statement, saying that "outsiders, who were not part of Parliament security, were brought in to manhandle opposition leaders and members, including women MPs who were only protesting the government's conduct, highhandedness and muzzling of their voice," reported NDTV.
Leaders of the Opposition also met Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu to submit a memorandum and apprise him of the incidents that took place in Rajya Sabha, news agency ANI reported.
Prior to that, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut had condemned the incident, addressing the media at an Opposition protest at Vijay Chowk. "Yesterday's incident against women MPs was against democracy. It felt like we were standing at the Pakistan border," Raut had said, claiming that "outsiders" had come dressed in the uniform of marshals to beat up the women.
On Wednesday, NCP leader Sharad Pawar also stated, "In my 55 years of parliamentary career, I never saw the way the women MPs were attacked today (in Rajya Sabha). More than 40 men and women were brought into the House from outside. It is painful. It is an attack on democracy."
(With inputs from ANI, PTI and NDTV.)
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