New Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS) The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day on Friday amid protests both by the opposition and the treasury benches as there was a ruckus over the Rafale fighter jet deal with the Congress demanding a JPC probe and the BJP seeking an apology from Congress President Rahul Gandhi in the wake of a Supreme Court decision.
Soon after the House reassembled at noon following an earlier adjournment, the Congress, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and other opposition members trooped near the Speaker’s podium and started sloganeering.
The Congress members were demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe on the defence deal with a French company, while the AIADMK members were protesting on the Cauvery water issue.
The TDP members were demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh.
Amid the din, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan tried to conduct the proceedings and the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018, and the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2018 were introduced.
Soon after the Bill was introduced, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh rose to his feet and countered the Opposition’s allegation on the Rafale jet deal citing the apex court’s decision.
“For political gains, Rahul Gandhi tried to mislead the nation and tarnish the country’s image globally,” he said during Zero Hour.
“As the Congress itself indulged in corruption, it tries to drag the BJP to counter the charges. With this thought process, they tried to demean the government and tarnish the nation’s international image,” he said.
He also said there was no deficiency in the quality and purchasing process of the 36 Rafale jet fighters in a ready-to-fly condition.
“Rahul Gandhi should come to the House and tender an apology to the nation,” the Minister said amid loud slogans raised by the Congress and other opposition members.
Amid protests, the Bharatiya Janata Party members were heard raising slogans like “Rahul Gandhi chor hai (Gandhi is the thief)” and “Rahul Gandhi mafi mango (He should apologise)”.
As soon as Rajnath Singh concluded his speech, Mahajan requested the agitating members to go back to their seats.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge also rose to his feat asking Mahajan to allow him to speak but she did not allow.
“If you want a discussion, you can discuss. First, go to your seats,” Mahajan told the members.
As the Congress and other opposition members continued their protests, she adjourned the House for the day.
Earlier, when the House met for the day, the Congress, TDP and AIADMK members trooped near the Speaker’s podium and shouted slogans against the government.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar then got up and said: “Now that the Supreme Court’s decision on Rafale has come, the Congress should tender apologies for misleading the country.”
This was right after the apex court junked four petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the purchase of the Rafale jets holding that the decision making process was not in doubt and it cannot go into the question of pricing and choice of offset Indian partner by the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault.
As the din continued, Mahajan adjourned the House till noon.
The government, which was defensive after the results of the Assembly election in five states, suddenly went aggressive against the Congress following the court’s verdict.