New Delhi: There was uproar in both Houses of Parliament on Monday over the Delhi riots, with the Lok Sabha witnessing unprecedented scenes when members of the treasury and Opposition benches almost came to blows while the latter was protesting in the well of the House.
The go-ahead for the protests by the Congress was given by party chief Sonia Gandhi at a meeting in the morning where she said that MPs should demand nothing less than the resignation of Union home minister Amit Shah.
The House was adjourned till 2 pm over the death of sitting JD (U) member Baidyanath Prasad Mahto, the MP from Valmikinagar in Bihar.
When the Lok Sabha reassembled at 2 pm, the Opposition, led by the Congress, began protesting and shouting slogans seeking the resignation of Mr Shah.
The members belonging to the Congress, DMK and Trinamul were carrying placards saying “Save Democracy”, “Home minister resign” and “No more hate”.
Mrs Sonia Gandhi and former party president Rahul Gandhi were present in the House as were senior leaders of other parties like Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The Speaker after dismissing all the adjournment motions of the Opposition leaders tried running the House normally with Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman introducing the Direct Tax Vivaad Se Vishwas Bill and health minister Harshvardhan introducing the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill and Mineral Laws Amendment Bill.
When West Champaran BJP MP Sanjay Jaiswal was speaking on the finance Bill, Congress MPs Hibi Eden and Gaurav Gogoi went towards him and tried to block him on camera with a banner demanding the resignation of the home minister. Mr Jaiswal then made a comment on Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Mr Rahul Gandhi and very soon all hell broke lose as the two MPs moved menacingly towards him and ruling party MPs rushed towards them to separate them and both sides almost came to blows.
Following this, there seemed to be a free for all as MPs from both Opposition and ruling sides pushed and shoved in the well. The Speaker them adjourned the House till 3 pm.
The drama continued even after the House was adjourned as MPs traded barbs and many like BJP MPs Ramesh Bidhuri and Ashwini Chaubey and Congress’ Mr Eden and others continued to argue.
Even as this was going on, another battlefront opened with Congress Kerala MP Ramya Haridas claiming that BJP MP Jaskaur Meena had “physically assaulted” her during that time. Ms Haridas later wrote a complaint to the Lok Sabha Speaker to this effect. The BJP MP denied and has since then filed a counter complaint.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said he was pained to see the situation in the House. “This is the temple of democracy. There are certain rules and tradition. You should not come to the Well. As you are responsible representatives of people here, it is your collective responsibility to maintain peace and tranquility". After this, he adjourned the House till Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters later, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that the party demanded that the violence in Delhi should be discussed in the Lok Sabha as it was a very important issue and the world was talking about it.
“The government should put forward its views on it. We were trying to make this request, but the government did not allow us to do so and kept making one excuse after another," he said. The Rajya Sabha too had to be adjourned for the day after Opposition parties members rem-ained adamant with their demand for Mr Shah’s resignation and kept shouting slogans against the Modi government.
As the Upper House assembled in the morning, chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu disallowed the discussion on Delhi riots as demanded by the Opposition, saying the issue was important but the priority should be to restore normalcy.