Modi seeks closure over remark, wants parliament to run

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday told the Lok Sabha that Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti had apologized for her abusive remark and the opposition should close the issue and, in the interest of the country, move forward with the work in the house.

Making a statement in the Lok Sabha soon after the house met for the day, Modi said that during a meeting of the party’s parliamentary party Tuesday he had sternly instructed party MPs against using such language.

“Before the issue was raised in the house, when there was a meeting of my party MPs, I had sternly instructed against using such language, and had expressed my unhappiness,” he said.

In remarks similar to those made in the Rajya Sabha Thursday, Modi said the minister was new.

“Nobody can approve such things. Later, the minister apologized. She is a new minister, we know her social background – she is from a village – and she has apologised and it is the duty of senior members in the house that when a member apologies in front of such a big house, then we also be liberal.”

The prime minister said he was grateful to members of Lok Sabha that they allowed the house to function.

Unlike the Rajya Sabha which has seen repeated adjournments, the Lok Sabha has transacted business after protests by opposition members during Question Hour.

Modi also said that political leaders, who had a role in public life, should talk in a dignified manner.

He said that members should accept “maryada (dignity of language)” and speak within that — whether they were within the house or outside.

“I feel when the minister had apologised — and she is a new minister — then senior leaders should request members of their parties to close the issue and move forward with our work in the interest of the country,” he added.

Jyoti, who is minister of state for food processing industries, reportedly said at a public meeting here: “Aapko tay karna hai ki Dilli mein sarkar Ramzadon ki banegi ya haramzadon ki.” (You have to decide if you want a government in Delhi to be led by the children of Lord Ram or illegitimate children).

Soon after the prime minister’s remarks, opposition members sought to convey their views but Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said that the matter should be considered closed.

Congress Leader in the house Mallikarjun Kharge referred to the BJP and said several of their leaders had had made remarks which had created an atmosphere which was affecting “unity of the society”.

Later opposition members, including those from the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, and Trinamool Congress, staged a walkout. They wore a black cloth over their mouth in protest.

The speaker, however, proceeded with the Question Hour.

Making a statement after the Question Hour, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu appealed to the opposition members to return to the house and take part in the discussions.

“All people commit mistakes,” he said and noted that the BJP had not carried on with protests over certain objectionable remarks made in the past by Congress leaders Mani Shankar Aiyar and Beni Prasad Verma. He also referred to controversial remarks made by Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal.

He said the opposition should join discussions to “meet expectations of people”.

“Hope they realize. People are ultimate judges,” he said.

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