New Delhi: The remarks of former Home Minister P Chidambaram on Afzal Guru and ex-Home Secretary G K Pillai on Ishrat Jahan today found their echo in Lok Sabha with a BJP member claiming that the erstwhile UPA government had tried to settle scores with its political rival Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Just before the House began discussing the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address, Anurag Thakur referred to reports quoting Chidambaram as saying that Afzal Guru's case "was perhaps not correctly decided" and Pillai as saying that the affidavit submitted to Gujarat High Court in 2009 about LeT links of Ishrat Jahan and her accomplices, who were killed in an alleged fake encounter in 2004, was changed at the "political level".
"It was an attempt to fix Modi...it was a conspiracy to put in dock political rivals by the previous (UPA) government," he said."Who changed the affidavit (in the Ishrat Jahan case), the nation wants to know," Thakur said. Members of Congress and the CPI(M) objected to the Chair for "selectively" allowing some members to speak.
Soon after the Question Hour, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the Speaker has not expunged the "derogatory" remarks against party chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul made by Thakur from House proceedings. On the contrary, words used by party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia have been expunged, he said.
Kharge said while it was Speaker's prerogative to expunge remarks and statements, words used against the Gandhis should be removed from records as it would set a precedent where people will decide on "who is nationalist or anti-national."
He was supported by members of the NCP and Left parties. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said while Kharge was free to air his stand, since he has named Thakur, he too should be given a chance to speak.
When Thakur referred to Chidambaram and Pillai, some opposition members objected, to which the BJP said he has already given notice in this regard.
Chidambaram has been quoted in an interview as saying that he felt it was possible to hold an "honest opinion" that the Afzal Guru case was "perhaps not correctly decided" and there were "grave doubts about the extent of his involvement" in the Parliament attack. Guru was hanged on February 9, 2013.
Reports quoting Pillai had said that two affidavits submitted by the Home Ministry on the Ishrat Jahan case were contradictory to each other. Pillai was the Home Secretary and Chidambaram the Home Minister when the affidavits were filed in 2009.