New Delhi: Speaker Sumitra Mahajan's decision to expunge an AAP member's remark referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi triggered strong protests from the opposition, including Congress and TMC in the Lok Sabha today, forcing her to promise reconsideration.
Bhagwant Mann's dig at Modi while participating in an impromptu debate caused by a farmer's suicide did not go down well with Mahajan who ordered its expunction.
Her contention was that opposition members were dragging the Prime Minister's name in almost every debate which was not “fair”.
Her order was immediately contested by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Saugata Roy (TMC) who sought to know under which rule she had made the decision, as Mann's remark was neither “unparliamentary”, nor “against rules”.
Besides, Kharge argued that members have a right to speak against the Prime Minister as he is the Leader of the House. “Against whom will they speak if they have to speak against the government,” he asked.
Kharge sought to know what is wrong if the AAP member spoke about the Prime Minister's ‘Man ki Baat' programme.
Sonia Gandhi was seen nudging party members to raise the matter.
K C Venugopal, Deependra Hooda (both Congress) and Roy raised points of order over Mahajan's ruling while AAP members were seen in the aisle protesting against it.
Though Speaker did not permit rising of points of order saying it was not allowed under Zero Hour, she relented and assured opposition members that she will look into the matter again.
“I understand your sentiments. I will look into it later and if the reference and context are right, then I will allow it,” she said. As opposition members persisted, she said, “I will reconsider it.”
Since the beginning of the second phase of Budget Session, Mahajan has often expressed her displeasure over frequent criticism of Modi by opposition members in their speeches.
At one point when Modi entered the House, Kharge took a dig at the Prime Minister saying they were “fortunate” that he has come to the House, with the Speaker objecting to this.
Kharge then said “he is the Prime Minister of the country. But you are supreme in this House. Here, everyone is under you, even the Prime Minister is under you, we are all under you.”