Govt-Opp­nTalk­sDe­fuseTen­sionAfterAhamedDeath

Congress brass staged protest at RML hos­pi­tal al­leg­ing death an­nounce­ment was de­layed de­lib­er­ately

The Economic Times - - Front Page -

New Delhi: Hec­tic par­leys in­volv­ing min­is­ters,op­po­si­tion­lead­er­sandLok Sabha Speaker Su­mi­tra Ma­ha­jan put an end to the Wed­nes­day morn­ing sus­pense on whether the death of sit­ting MP E Ahamed would af­fect the Bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion.

Ten­sion es­ca­lated when Congress lead­ers, in­clud­ing So­nia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Ahmed Pa­tel and Ghu­lam Nabi Azad, protested on late Tues­day night at New Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lo­hia Hos­pi­tal af­ter they and Ahamed’s fam­ily mem­bers felt the of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment of his death was de­lib­er­ately de­layed. How­ever, early Wed­nes­day morn­ing saw of­fi­cial an­nounce- ment on the MP’s death, hec­tic talks be­tween the gov­ern­ment and Op­po­si­tion sides for en­sur­ing smooth func­tion­ing of the House and Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi vis­it­ing the de­ceased MP’s House to pay his re­spects.

For the record, the Congress urged the Speaker to post­pone the Bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion and ad­jour n the House af­ter con­dol­ing the MP’s death. But ac­cord­ing to a party in­sider it was more of a way of reg­is­ter­ing its protest against the gov­ern­ment’s ‘grace­less han­dling’ of Ahamed’s death, the ‘de­lay’ in for­mal an­nounce­ment and the at­tempt by hos­pi­tal and po­lice to pre­vent Ahamed’s chil­dren from see­ing their fa­ther af­ter they reached the hos­pi­tal on Tues­day evening. LAST RE­SPECTS: Ker­ala lead­ers pay­ing homage to E Ahamed in Kozhikode

Ahamed’s fam­ily threat­ened that it would an­nounce the MP’s death if au­thor­i­ties de­layed the an­nounce­ment. By Tues­day af­ter­noon it­self, Congress MPs had in­for­mally told oth­ers in Par­lia­ment that Ahamed’s death was con­firmed by doc­tors when t h e y, i n c l u d i n g Rahul Gandhi, reached the hos­pi­tal af­ter the MP was taken there. A Congress MP said that they had ex­pected the gov­ern­ment to make it of­fi­cial on Tues­day it­self and work out an agree­ment with the Op­po­si­tion, and fam­ily mem­bers, on func­tion­ing of the House to en­able pre­sen­ta­tion of the Bud­get. Some gov­ern­ment man­agers gave prece­dents of Bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion de­spite death of sit­ting MP, but was coun­tered by Op­po­si­tion MPs who ar­gued in such cases de­lay­ing the an­nounce­ment of death was made af­ter tak­ing fam­ily mem­bers of the de­ceased MP into con­fi­dence.

Fi­nally, the de­ci­sion was left to the Speaker. Ma­ha­jan read out obit­u­ary re­marks and said that the Bud­get would be pre­sented af­ter obit­u­ary ref­er­ences as the Pres­i­dent had given the for­mal direction for presenting the Bud­get. She also said the House would not func­tion on Thurs­day as a mark of re­spect to Ahamed. Congress leader Mal­likar­jun Kharge, then, made it a point to de­mand post­pone­ment of the Bud­get and added that doc­tors had con­firmed Ahamed’s death on Tues­day. Af­ter that Congress MPs from Ker­ala staged a walk­out.

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