Remarks by Rahul Gandhi about young men “beating Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a danda (stick)” and criticism by the ruling BJP have created unmitigated confusion in parliament today, with rival MPs appearing to be blowing.
“Congress MPs came to my home seat, tried to attack me and snatch my papers,” alleged Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who raised the comments from Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor refuted that and said it was his own MP who was driven around instead.
It all began when Rahul Gandhi, Kerala Congress MP, asked a question about medical colleges that was mentioned. The Health Minister went on to read a statement criticizing the remarks he had made against the PM at a rally to vote for the Delhi election, instead of replying to him.
“Sir, please excuse me. Before I start answering this question, dear Shri Rahul Gandhi ji. I want to condemn the outlandish language he used against the country’s prime minister in no uncertain terms,” Harsh Vardhan said.
Speaker Om Birla asked the minister to stick to his reply but he kept reading his statement.
While angry members of Congress clustered around the speaker’s chair shouting slogans against Harsh Vardhan, Manickam Tagore, a Tamil Nadu Congress MP, marched over to the government benches and shouted at the minister who spoke from the second row. Several BJP MPs then seemed to back Mr Tagore.
Harsh Vardhan has not stopped reading his statement amidst all this. “In a recent speech, he (Gandhi) used words like ‘6 mahine baad, iss desh ka yuva, Narendra Modi ko dande maar ke desh se bahar karega’. (In six months, the unemployed youth will beat Modi with sticks and throw him out) His father was also prime minister. I don’t think in the worst case our party leaders have ever made such outrageous personal remarks threatening to beat with dandas (sticks)
The speaker adjourned the house till Monday, after numerous disruptions.
“Obviously, BJP doesn’t like me speaking in the house. So, in a completely unparliamentary way, the health minister raised something I had said outside, which he doesn’t have to do. I think the main issue is that we’re being stifled. We’re not allowed to speak in parliament,” Gandhi told reporters.
He also tweeted: “Today’s orchestrated ruckus in Parliament was designed to prevent me from questioning the government. India’s youth can see clearly that the PM has no clue as to how to tackle the unemployment crisis. To protect him, the BJP will continue to disrupt the parliament and prevent debate.”