Nation Politics 10 May 2016 Can't gag PM, s ...

Can't gag PM, says BJP as Congress fumes over Modi's Sonia remarks

Published May 10, 2016, 3:31 pm IST
Updated May 10, 2016, 4:18 pm IST
Government remains defiant, Arun Jaitley says ‘Prime Minister entitled to speak on corruption’.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo: PTI)
 Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Stepping up attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress has given notices for breach of privilege against him in both Houses of Parliament over his remarks against Sonia Gandhi in the AgustaWestland issue even as the party members continued their protests.

At an election rally in Kerala, Modi said that an Italian court had named Sonia Gandhi in AgustaWestland chopper bribery case.


The government, however, remained defiant, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today asserting in the Rajya Sabha that the "Prime Minister is entitled to speak on corruption" both inside and outside the House and he cannot be gagged".

Read: PM can't be gagged against speaking on corruption: Arun Jaitley

His statement came after Congress member Shantaram Naik said he has given notice for breach of privilege against Modi and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar over the PM's remarks at an election rally on the AgustaWestland issue.

Naik contended that "lies" had been told outside the House about UPA leaders taking money in the chopper deal.

Read: 'Yes, I was born in Italy but India is my home,' Sonia Gandhi slams BJP

Jaitley, who is Leader of the House, retorted, "Since when has an election speech by one politician against another outside the House started to be construed as breach of privilege?"

He said that political speech outside by one politician against another is for "publicity" like the Congress members have been doing in front of media the whole of yesterday.

Read: Agusta deal: After Modi’s jibe on Sonia, Cong asks ‘which court is PM quoting’

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said he had called Naik to make a Zero Hour submission as per the notice he had given and not to raise any other issue like breach of privilege notice.

Congress leader Anand Sharma said the statements made by Modi in the House or outside are as Prime Minister of the country and there cannot be any distinction between them. "The Prime Minister has contradicted his Defence Minister," he contended.

Read: Don’t act strongly against Sonia Gandhi, warn BJP leaders

After Jaitley's response, Kurien disallowed any further comments on the issue and proceeded with the listed business of the day.

In the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Veerappa Moily has given notice for breach of privilege against Modi.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said the notice is under her consideration and she will allow them to speak only after she takes a decision.

Read: Sonia Gandhi in tears, rebuts Narendra Modi

When Moily wanted to make a point of order, the Speaker turned it down, saying it is not allowed during the Zero Hour.

Ravneet Singh 'Bittu' of Congress tried to speak about the attack on Gandhi when his turn to speak on some other issue came but the Speaker disallowed him, saying he was not speaking on the topic on which he had submitted his notice.

Dissatisfied Congress members stormed the Well and kept raising slogans, asking the government to stop "politics of allegations" and "murder of democracy" as Gandhi looked on.

The Speaker continued with the proceedings of the Zero Hour amid the protests of Congress members.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi