New Delhi: High drama was witnessed in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday after Congress MP Prabha Thakur broke into tears over a remark senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader M Venkaiah Naidu made against her. Though the BJP leader initially refused to apologise but after the woman MP left the House, Naidu regretted his statement and said it was not deliberate.
Thakur was on Thursday seen coming to the Well during an animated debate on FDI in multi-brand retail and weeping before leaving the House in a huff. She was upset over a remark by Naidu, which was immediately expunged by the Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien. The remark had triggered a clash between Naidu and members from the treasury benches, prompting the Chair to adjourn the House for a brief period of 10 minutes.
As soon as the House re-assembled, Thakur was seen in the Well with tears. Her party colleagues were meanwhile shouting against Naidu over the remark saying, "We want justice." Naidu was unapologetic at that time saying that he had not made any "derogatory" remarks against any member and wanted the records to be checked.
Kurien said he has already expunged the word from the proceedings and would take action if any unparliamentary word was used. When Congress members insisted that action be taken against such remark, Naidu said he would not succumb to any "bullying". At that moment, Thakur left the House, while Naidu continued his debate.
Minutes later, he expressed regret. "If the member Prabha Thakur is upset over my remarks, which have hurt her, I express my regret. It was not deliberate," he said. Kurien praised Naidu for this. "I applaud the member. This should be the attitude," he said while noting that there were no rules whereby the Chair could direct any member to apologise.
Earlier, Naidu stirred a hornet's nest by calling Bahujan Samaj Party as a Congress ally while delivering his speech. As soon as he said that the Congress government which was in minority did not feel it proper to consult even its allies like BSP, members from the party rose on their feet protesting against the remark. They continued to protest against the remarks even as Kurien asked them to sit down.
Satish Chandra Misra (BSP) said the Chair did not try to stop BJP members when they were interrupting the speech of their party leader Mayawati earlier, who was continually interrupted during her speech. Naidu remarked, "I am happy that BSP is clarifying that they are not allies of Congress. But if they are not allies,
what is their relationship?" On this, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla quipped, "What is your (BJP's) relation with the Left Front."
Mani Shankar Aiyar too jumped into the defence of the government, which was retorted by Naidu saying that Aiyar who had joined the Congress recently was like a new lawyer who was not given an opportunity to speak. The Chair tried to calm the House by asking shouting BSP members to sit down otherwise he would be forced to adjourn the House. He said Naidu has rectified his remarks. As the BSP did not relent, Kurien said he will have to take action on which the members calmed down.
(With additional information from PTI)