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It’s Privilege Motion vs Privilege Motion in Parliament

NEW DELHI: A war of Privilege Motions has broken out in Parliament, with the BJP on Tuesday giving notice for such an action against Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, hitting back at the opposition party for a similar move against HRD Minister Smriti Irani.

Members protest in the well of the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

In the Lok Sabha, BJP’s Chief Whip Arjun Ram Meghwal said he and many other members, including Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, had given a notice of breach of privilege against Mr. Scindia, the Chief Whip of Congress, for “misleading” the House on February 24, 2016.

The Congress and the Left have already given notice of Privilege Motion against Ms. Irani, accusing her of “misleading” the House over the suicide of Rohit Vemula, a Dalit scholar of Hyderabad University.

Mr. Meghwal said Mr. Scindia had wrongly alleged that Mr. Dattatreya had called Vemula “anti-national, casteist and extremist”.

The BJP leader raised the issue amid uproar created by the AIADMK members who were demanding action against former Union Minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti in the Aircel-Maxis issue.

At this, the Congress members too rushed to the Well, demanding that Speaker Sumitra Mahajan should decide on their notice of Privilege Motion against Ms. Irani for “misleading” the House on Vemula issue.

Mr. Dattatreya accused Mr. Scindia of “defaming him and tarnishing” his image by attributing such comments to him that he never made about Vemula.

“My mother used to sell onions. I have always worked for OBCs, Dalits… I have made sacrifices for Dalits,” he said, recalling his humble background and work for the downtrodden.

He said his letter to Mr. Irani, over which he has been attacked by the Congress, made no mention of Vemula’s name. “I never made such charge against him.”

The Congress members continued to protest with K.C. Venugopal showing the rule book to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to which she shot back, saying “Don’t show me the rule book. I know.”

She repeatedly tried to pacify the members saying all the notices for privilege motion are under her consideration.

With the AIADMK and the Congress members continuing to protest, she adjourned the House.

In the Rajya Sabha, the Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad reminded that his Congress party had given notice of Privilege Motion against the HRD Minister and wanted to know its status.

“She (Ms. Irani) has misled this House and the nation through the House. Not only here, she has misled the country in both the Houses. It is a very, very serious charge,” Mr. Azad said.

Earlier, Bhalchandra Mungekar (Congress) sought to know the fate of his notice for Privilege Motion against Ms. Irani given on Monday and insisted on action against the Minister.

He raised the issue during Question Hour when his name was called for asking a supplementary question.

Chairman Hamid Ansari asked Mr. Mungekar not to raise any other issue during Question Hour.

JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav expressed support to the Congress move.

“We all support the Privilege Motion. The Minister has misled the country,” he said.

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, “Yes, the Chair has received the (notice for) Privilege Motion. There is a procedure and we have to adhere to it. It is under the consideration of the Chair. The Chair will get back to you.”

The issue of Privilege Motion against Ms. Irani had created a brief uproar in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday before Finance Minister Arun Jaitely started presenting the Union Budget 2016-17 with the Opposition seeking to know the status of their notices against Ms. Irani for “misleading” the House on the Vemula issue.

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