Stormy start to ses­sion as Ra­j­nath, So­nia spar

Cong chief hits back at min­is­ter’s jibe about mis­use of ‘sec­u­lar­ism’

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NEWS - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: Par­lia­ment’s win­ter ses­sion got off to a heated start on Thurs­day, with a ver­bal face-off be­tween home min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh and Congress pres­i­dent So­nia Gandhi, set­ting the stage for a stormy month with a slew of re­form bills in the pipe­line.

Open­ing the day’s de­bate, Singh said ‘sec­u­lar­ism’ was the coun­try’s most mis­used word and such ram­pant abuse had trig­gered ten­sions in the coun­try, caus­ing up­roar in Par­lia­ment. Gandhi was quick to hit back, say­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion’s ba­sic ideals were in dan­ger and fac­ing “de­lib­er­ate at­tacks”, a ref­er­ence to snow­balling in­ci­dents of in­tol­er­ance in the past few months.

“Peo­ple who don’t re­spect the Con­sti­tu­tion and had no role in its making are now chant­ing its name and try­ing to ap­pro­pri­ate its legacy. What can be a big­ger joke than this?” Gandhi said amid protests from the BJP benches.

The first two days of the cru­cial ses­sion were ear­marked to com­mem­o­rate the Con­sti­tu­tion and the role of its framer Dr BR Ambed­kar. But the de­bate quickly turned into a bit­ter tus­sle be­tween the trea­sury and Op­po­si­tion benches in the Lok Sabha over al­leged vi­o­la­tion of its pro­vi­sions and the Dalit icon’s legacy.

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