Stormy start to session as Rajnath, Sonia spar
Cong chief hits back at minister’s jibe about misuse of ‘secularism’
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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