BJP MP Parvesh Verma on Monday strongly criticised the Congress in the Lok Sabha for opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act and accused the Opposition party of creating problems like Article 370 as part of its "vote bank politics".
The BJP member initiated the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President's address in the Lok Sabha even as some Opposition members staged a walkout and asserted that the controversial law would not be revoked. "They (the Congress) should know that it is not Rajiv Feroze Khan government, it is Narendra Modi's government," he said. "We will not take back CAA. It is a question of the country's integrity," asserted Verma.
The reference to Rajiv Gandhi's father was a factually incorrect one, as his name was Feroze Gandhi, not Feroze Khan. Also, while Verma's assertion suggests that he was a Muslim, he was in fact a Parsi.
Verma said that "they (Congress) create problems like Article 370 and 35(A)" by their "vote bank politics", and "we solve them" to strengthen India.
The West Delhi MP also attacked the Congress and the AAP for their governance in Delhi and said that if the BJP comes to power in Delhi, it will ensure that 'pucca' houses will be built in unauthorised colonies. Verma also referred to the Shaheen Bagh sit-in, saying it is not a protest against amended citizenship law, and that people there are saying "Pakistan zindabad, and Assam and Kashmir should be separated from India."
Taking strong exception to his speech, the Trinamool Congress said it was meant for the Delhi campaign and not for a debate on the President's address.
Participating in the discussion on Motion of Thanks on the President's address, Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi said that a member banned by the Election Commission for campaigning in Delhi was allowed to speak first in the House and "that shows the BJP's attitude towards the Election Commission and Parliament".
Verma had been banned from campaigning by the Election Commission for 96 hours ahead of the 8 February Delhi polls owing to communally divisive remarks made by him. Union minister Anurag Thakur was also handed a 72-hour ban for the ‘desh ke gaddaron ko’ slogan during election rallies.
Gogoi also demanded that Union Minister Anurag Thakur be booked for egging on participants at an election rally to raise an incendiary slogan that "traitors should be shot". "Book the minister under relevant laws", he said without taking the minister's name.
Referring to the JNU incident on 5 January, Gogoi said people witnessed disturbing scenes in universities. Students and professors at JNU were bleeding due to an attack and police did not do anything, he said adding, "I am not questioning Delhi Police". He also accused " political masters" of "giving directions to the police".
Referring to the firing near Jamia Millia Islamia University on 30 January, the Congress member said: "In front of Delhi Police, a boy fired on the people,"adding that he must have been "motivated by someone". "I want to know who is pulling the trigger. It's not the minister or that boy," he said.
Terming issues like unemployment and poverty as the true Ravanas, Gogoi said that the Union Budget 2010-21 did not provide any solutions to these problems. DMK's TR Baalu also criticised the budget, arguing that it had not done anything to boost investment in the agriculture sector.
TMC member Mahua Moitra dubbed the National Population Register (NPR), National Register of Citizens and the CAA as the "biggest betrayal" of the people of India. She also said that the state of economy is abysmal and the finance minister was fearful in giving the target for the real GDP.
Vinayak Raut, member of former NDA constituent Shiv Sena, dared the BJP to give Bharat Ratna to Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar .
Earlier, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 3 pm, shortly after it reconvened at 2 pm and Opposition members raised slogans as Union minister Bhupendra Yadav moved the Motion of Thanks. The Lok Sabha was adjourned till 1.30 pm as the chorus against the CAA, NRC and NPR by the Opposition grew louder.
The Budget Session of the Parliament began on 31 January with President Ram Nath Kovind addressing a joint sitting of both the Houses. On Monday, both the Houses were to initiate the discussion on the ''Motion of Thanks'' to the President's address. However, even before the session began, two notices for adjournment and three notices for suspension of business were given by leaders from the Congress, BSP, CPI, CPM and Indian Union Muslim League over the remarks by BJP ministers against anti-CAA protests and situation prevailing in the country due to the contentious law, demanding that NPR and NRC be stopped. Other parties that gave adjournment notices were DMK, TMC and AIMIM.
As soon as the Lower House convened, Opposition members began raising slogans, demanding a debate on the issue. Members also raised slogans such as 'Say no to CAA', 'save our democracy' and 'save our Constitution' during Question Hour. Despite Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla’s reminder that members can raise issues during the Zero Hour, members kept chanting slogans.
Even as Thakur began speaking in response to a query about chit fund scams, the slogans grew louder owing to his controversial ‘shoot the traitors’ remark during Delhi election rallies against anti-CAA protesters. Congress members, who descended into the Well, shouted slogans against the minister and asked 'Aapki goli kaha hai? (where is your bullet?)', an apparent reference to the minister's controversial remarks. Some members also shouted 'Goli maarna band karo, desh ko todna band karo (Stop shooting, stop breaking the nation)'. Whenever Thakur was responding to supplementaries during the Question Hour, the members began sloganeering against him.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the government cannot silence people's "boli" (voice) with "goli". When he was allowed to speak during Zero Hour, the Congress leader hit out at the BJP and alleged that even as anti-CAA protestors held the national flag and sang the national anthem, they were fired upon and killed, making a reference to the deaths reported across the country during agitations against the law.
“You are fake Hindus," he said, adding that if its members were "asli (genuine) Hindus", they would have behaved differently. “It's a conspiracy by ruling party to scare and threaten protesters. The ruling party's goons are doing such things and the government is silent,” he added.
Meanwhile, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said that the government should be ashamed for firing on students, expressing solidarity with the students of Jamia Millia Islamia. “Do they know that students have lost their eyes? Do they know our daughters were beaten?” he asked.
His statements come even as three firing incidents have been reported within a week in the Jamia Nagar area, which is also witnessing the Shaheen Bagh protest. The attackers held on Thursday and Saturday said statements like ‘Ye lo azaadi’ (take this freedom) and ‘Is desh mein sirf Hinduon ki chalegi’ (Only Hindus will run this country).
He had said in December last year that a population database will be the start of work for a register of citizens. "I am telling you that NPR and NRC are two sides of a coin. The rules of NPR and NRC are the same,” he had said.
The Upper House had also been adjourned at 12 pm as Opposition members demanded a debate on CAA, NRC and NPR and TMC members trooped into the well after Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan refused to hold a discussion on the matter and began the Question Hour. Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad insisted that the discussion should be allowed because people are being allegedly killed in BJP-ruled states across the country.
Earlier, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu disallowed notices given by several Opposition members to discuss the issue and then adjourned proceedings till noon after MPs belonging to the Congress, TMC, Left and BSP rose to raise the issue.
The President's address had specific mention of the amended citizenship law and it can be discussed during the debate on the Motion of Thanks, he said. However, Satish Chandra Mishra of the BSP, Derek O'Brien of the TMC, TK Rangarajan of the CPM and other Opposition members rose to speak on it.
The Opposition has termed the CAA passed by Parliament as "unconstitutional" and has challenged the same in the Supreme Court which will hear the matter later this month. The Opposition parties have also urged chief ministers of those states which have opposed the CAA to not roll out the NPR exercise.
The Parliament had passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill on 11 December last year with 311 Lok Sabha MPs and 125 Rajya Sabha MPs voting in its favour. Soon, protests against the Act began and, in some places, turned violent. Owaisi had said during the debate on the proposed citizenship law that it aimed to make Muslims stateless and ripped a copy of the bill apart in the Lok Sabha.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Feb 03, 2020 20:19:30 IST