MPs can be compared to fishmongers and prostitutes: Omar Abdullah

July 23rd, 2008 - 6:23 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The day may not be far when lawmakers are labelled “fishmongers and prostitutes”, said an anguished National Conference leader Omar Abdullah after the ugly spectacle of wads of currency notes being brandished in parliament by MPs claiming it was bribe money. “Do you know how much damage that particular action has cost parliament? It is immense. Can you imagine a day when MPS are called fishmongers and prostitutes?” asked the 38-year-old MP from Srinagar who earned plaudits for his stirring speech during Tuesday’s debate on the trust motion won by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“In my 10 years as an MP I have never seen such repulsive scenes. Money actually being brought into the house and bandied around … never has it happened in parliament’s history. It is unbelievable,” a disturbed Abdullah told IANS in an interview here Wednesday.

“It is going to take a long time to get over this. The vote may have been won by the government but along with it there has been damage.”

The Lok Sabha witnessed high drama Tuesday when three MPs from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shocked the rest of the house and millions of television viewers by walking in with two bags full of currency notes claiming it was given by the Samajwadi Party in return for their support in the trust vote.

As the nation watched the unprecedented scenes in the Indian parliament, which were telecast live, pandemonium broke out and the house was abruptly adjourned.

Abdullah, who declared that he would not make the mistake of joining hands with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, said the life of parliament was limited because fresh elections were around the corner.

“Already everyone is in election mode and in a few months we will be having general elections,” he said.

In his reckoning, a realignment of politics had already happened in the run-up to the trust vote with the Bahujan Samaj Party leader Maywawati surfacing as a viable force that was “non-BJP and non-Congress”.

“I really cannot say how this new third front is going to play out. She has the ability to pull more allies in the run-up to the elections,” said the leader of the National Conference, which has two MPs in the Lok Sabha.

The National Conference, which is not part of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), played a key role in the trust vote when it decided to support the India-US civil nuclear deal and the Manmohan Singh government.

During the debate, Abdullah heaped praise on the deal and scoffed at the BJP’s plea to him to vote with the opposition to defeat the government.

In a telling comment that won a loud round of applause he said: “I made the mistake of standing with them once (in the previous dispensation in which he was a minister of state). I will not make the same mistake again.

“These people (BJP-NDA) now want me to vote with them to bring down this government,” Abdullah declared, pumping the air with his right hand - the scorn clearly evidence in his voice.

“I am an Indian. I am a Muslim. I’m for the deal,” he said.

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