New Delhi: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's uncharacteristic display of aggression in Lok Sabha on Wednesday over no debate on rising communal violence in the country evoked a strong response from the ruling side, which termed it as “pure frustration” and nothing else.
Questioning Rahul Gandhi's strange behaviour, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said, “Why has Congress made an issue of this non-issue. Reason is clear, a section of the party, unable to lead, is facing a palace coup.”
Rejecting Rahul Gandhi's charge that only ''one man's voice counts”, Jaitley further said, “Those who don't speak in the House accuse us of not allowing them to speak.”
The reactions from the senior BJP leader came shortly after the Congress-led Opposition created a ruckus demanding a debate over rising incidents of communal riots in parts of Uttar Pradesh and the ongoing UPSC row.
Minutes after the Lower House resumed normal business, Congress MPs, led by their vice president Rahul Gandhi and supported by other Opposition parties, raised slogans and demanded the introduction of the bill against communal violence.
The Congress MPs also thronged to the well of the House and sought a debate on the communal riots in Uttar Pradesh.
Congress MPs were seen pressing the Lok Sabha Speaker to suspend the Question Hour, so that a debate on rising communal tension in various parts of the country could be initiated.
“We are not being allowed to speak in the Parliament, we wanted a discussion,” Rahul Gandhi said while attacking the BJP government.
The Congress vice president also accused the Lok Sabha Speaker of favouring the ruling party, saying “Speaker is not allowing us to speak, only one man's voice is being heard.”
A visibly upset Speaker then asked Rahul Gandhi to give examples of specific incidents of communal violence and cautioned him not to make general statements.
The BJP was also quick to counter Rahul Gandhi's charge. “Rahul Gandhi calling the Speaker 'partial' is unfortunate and avoidable,” Rajiv Pratap Rudy of the BJP said adding, “It is pure frustration and nothing else.”
On its turn, the Government assured the House that its is ready for a debate or discussion on any issue.
“There is peace in the country, let peace prevail in Parliament,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said, adding, “We are ready for any debate.”
Naidu made this remark referring to Congress leader Mallikarjun Khrge's allegation that communal tension has risen in the country ever since the BJP government has come to power.
The ruling side also hit back, asking the Congress leaders to follow the rules and then seek a debate on issues concerned.
However, with the din continuing, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House till noon.
It was also reported that BJP patriarch LK Advani is upset with the turn of events in Lok Sabha today and has asked the NDA floor managers to resolve the issue.
Later, Mahajan also reacted to Rahul Gandhi's charge of being ''biased'' towards the ruling side.
“I try that everyone gets an opportunity to speak in Question Hour, try to listen to every member of the House. I try to give everyone a chance to express their point of view,” the Lok Sabha Speaker said.
Congress party had earlier given notice of an adjournment motion in Lok Sabha over rising incidents of communal violence in the country.
According to reports, the notice was given by Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, party MP MI Shahnawaz and party whip KC Venugopal.
The demand from the Congress comes in the wake of heightened tension after a woman was allegedly gang-raped and forcibly converted in Meerut recently.
Last year's communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and neighbouring areas of Shamli and Meerut had left 63 people dead between September 6 and 10. More than 43,000 people were rendered homeless and many of them were forced to take shelters in refugees camps set up by the Uttar Pradesh government.
An all-out war has been going between the Samajwadi Party, which is presently ruling the state, and the BJP, which is in power at the Centre.
Congress has accused both BJP and the SP of indulging in caste politics and dividing the society on communal lines.
The Congress party has also accused the Narendra Modi-led BJP government of not taking appropriate corrective measures to prevent communal disturbances in the country.