Govt-oppn fight over Irani speech set to flare up

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTNATION - HT Cor­re­spon­dent


NEW DELHI: The de­bate over na­tion­al­ism may con­tinue to dom­i­nate Par­lia­ment’s pro­ceed­ings this week, even af­ter both Houses had com­pleted dis­cus­sions on the is­sue.

The BJP came out in sup­port of Union hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment min­is­ter Sm­riti Irani af­ter the Congress, Left and the JD(U) de­cided to push no­tice of breach of priv­i­lege against her for al­legedly “mis­lead­ing” the House in her re­ply on the de­bate over the is­sue of stu­dents of Univer­sity of Hy­der­abad and JNU.

BJP spokesper­son MJ Ak­bar slammed the Congress on Sun­day, say­ing, “The Congress says the HRD min­is­ter had ‘in­sin­u­ated’ that Ro­hith Vem­ula is not a Dalit, and sought a priv­i­lege mo­tion. Do we call a priv­i­lege mo­tion on the ba­sis of in­sin­u­a­tion or on the ba­sis of what the min­is­ter has said? Had there been mo­tion on the ba­sis of in­sin­u­a­tion, no Congress leader would have ever dared to en­ter Par­lia­ment.”

Even as the Congress al­leged that Irani mis­led the House and pointed to the state­ment of Vem­ula’s fam­ily in its de­fence, the BJP leader main­tained that the min­is­ter’s state­ment was based on of­fi­cial and po­lice ac­counts.

In a bid to turn the ta­bles on the Congress, Ak­bar said, “The Congress re­fuses to ac­cept that the proc­to­rial board and the ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil, which took the de­ci­sions on the stu­dents were full of nom­i­nees of the UPA gov­ern­ment. So, re­com men­da­tions of the proc­to­rial board and the de­ci­sion of the ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil were taken by peo­ple who were ap­pointed by the Congress.”

How­ever, un­fazed by the BJP’S de­fence, Congress lead ers main­tained that Vem­ula’s sui­cide and the JNU row were far from over in Par­lia­ment. A sec­tion of the Congress even hinted that it may not ne­goti ate the pas­sage of the key bills with the BJP be­fore the raging con­tro­versy dies down. “They (the BJP) will have to chew the pill (of con­se­quences of the stu dents’ is­sue.) Then we may talk about the bills,” quipped a se­nior Congress leader.

The BJP, how­ever, con­tin­ued to tar­get Congress vice-pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi over the JNU and Univer­sity of Hy­der­abad row. “Op­po­si­tion lead­ers are so ir­re­spon­si­ble that they make a fresh state­ment ev­ery day and dis­ap­pear. Rahul Gandhi can hide from Par­lia­ment, but not from peo­ple,” said Ak­bar.

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