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Notice over President’s speech sparks row in Rajya Sabha

NEW DELHI: Rajya Sabha witnessed heated exchanges on Wednesday over Leader of the House and finance minister Arun Jaitley‘s remarks that adjournment notices were being “grossly abused” for publicity when Congress member Anand Sharma sought to raise his point that the government was undermining the role of those who had fought for the country’s freedom.

The trouble started during Zero Hour as Sharma, referring to President Ram Nath Kovind‘s inaugural speech in which there was no mention of Jawaharlal Nehru, accused the government of undermining the stature of leaders who fought for independence by comparing Mahatma Gandhi with BJP’s ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay.

As Jaitley objected to the remarks, saying adjournment notices were being “grossly abused” for publicity, Congress and other members rose in protest.

Amid the protests, Jaitley went on to say, “…the Chair must also be guided by a principle that you can’t have a Zero Hour for the benefit of TV cameras. That is what something which is happening today… This has all been enacted.” He demanded that Sharma’s remarks be expunged.

Jaitley said some other members have also given notices and the Chair must protect their rights, apparently referring to a notice given by BJP member Subramanian Swamy to raise the issue of Samjhauta Express blast of 2005, regarding which media reports suggested that some crucial evidence had been ignored. Jaitley also insisted that rules do not allow references being made in the House to those who have held high Constitutional positions.

Sharma, however, said he had not referred to any one of high dignity. To this, Jaitley said, “we know the spirit of what you are saying.”

Leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government was trying to insult leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru.

“The centenary of those people are being observed who had no connection with the freedom struggle. They are doing ‘pick and choose’,” he said.

Deputy chairman PJ Kurien said all notices under Rule 267 were being rejected but the Chair has to first listen to the member to take a decision. DMK member Thiruchi Siva said he was “hurt” by Jaitley’s remarks that issues were being raised for TV publicity.

To this, Jaitley said, “Every day what is not point of order is raised as point of order.” “None of us were born today that we don’t realise each other’s games. We know this noise is being created only because some members want to raise the issue of Samjhauta case. We know that. Don’t provide an alibi. I know they are your ally parties.”

Congress MPs then entered the Well, raising slogans and forcing a brief adjournment. When the House re-assembled for Question Hour, the opposition demanded expunction of Jaitley’s remarks, forcing Chairman Hamid Ansari to adjourn the House.

Azad said he respected the leader of the House, “but to say that opposition leaders raise issues for TV channels is not acceptable.”

Source : timesofindia

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Notice over President’s speech sparks row in Rajya Sabha


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