Rajya Sabha disrupted as BJP targets Sonia Gandhi (Second Lead)

August 9th, 2011 - 4:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) A war of words broke out between the opposition and the treasury benches in the Rajya Sabha Tuesday with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) calling Congress president Sonia Gandhi a “thief” for her role in appointing Suresh Kalmadi as chief of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee.

The BJP refused to apologise, leading to the house being adjourned repeatedly, first for a short while and then till 3 p.m. when the Rajya Sabha met after lunch.

The Congress insisted on an apology and the BJP initially refused to relent. When the house met at 2 p.m., Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said the words should be deleted but the treasury benches were not pacified, firm on their demand for an apology.

“We have been having a debate on important people, there will be references, I am one with entire house there should not be any inappropriate remarks for any leader, in this case the UPA chairperson. It should be deleted,” Jaitley said.

“We are all conscious of the fact chairperson is recovering from an illness. We wish her all the best,” he added.

The treasury benches could not be pacified, however, and the house was adjourned again till 3 p.m.

The verbal clashes broke out as the upper house was discussing Sports Minister Ajay Maken’s statement that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government was responsible for the appointment of Kalmadi, who is now in jail for his alleged role in irregularities in CWG projects.

Jaitley said Kalmadi had held a series of meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi. He said the prime minister had gone ahead with the selection of Kalmadi as chief of the Organising Committee even though the sports ministry and bureaucrats in his own office had recommended against it.

BJP members also shouted slogans stating that Gandhi was responsible for Kalmadi’s appointment. “Gali gali me shor hai, Sonia Gandhi chor hai (Sonia Gandhi is a thief),” the BJP members shouted.

This agitated the Congress members, who gathered close to the chairman’s podium, to protest.

Amid the pandemonium, Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan adjourned the house for 15 minutes. When the house reassembled, ruling party members were on their feet, demanding an apology from the BJP.

“This is a serious debate… if the idea is to call the Congress leader names, it is not acceptable,” Congress leader Ashwani Kumar said.

“The leader of opposition must show generosity and apologise,” he said.

The chair also directed the opposition to apologise.

“No member has the right to accuse…it is unparliamentary,” Khan said.

The opposition members, however, remained adamant and refused to apologise. The chair then adjourned the house till 2 p.m. for lunch.

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