Breaking his silence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly disapproved of the controversial comments of Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti but his attempts to buy peace failed with the Opposition paralysing Rajya Sabha for the third day, insisting on her dismissal.
Three days after a row erupted over Jyoti’s offensive remarks in a public meeting here, Modi spoke in the Rajya Sabha, as the opposition continued with its protest refusing to accept her apology.
“I was informed about the statement which caused the controversy on the day BJP Parliamentary Party was to meet. In the meeting I strongly disapproved of the remarks and I said we should avoid using such language,” the Prime Minister said in his brief intervention in the Upper House during the Zero Hour.
Virtually ruling out any action against Jyoti, Modi said the Minister is new and in the “heat” of elections, such comments should be avoided, but at the same time urged the opposition to allow the House to “move on” in “national interest” in view of her apology.
“Before this issue was raised in the House, I had put forth this matter before all our MPs…. The minister is new, and she has come to Parliament for the first time. We are aware of her background. She has apologised.
“I believe that after her apology…this House has so many senior members with so much experience, they know what should be their feelings towards an apology,” Modi said.
“I appeal to the House that when the Minister has apologised…this is a message to all of us that in future we all should not cross the limits of dignity in terms of dos and don’ts. I appeal to the House that we should work for the interest of the country,” the Prime Minister said.
The Opposition, however, insisted that she has no right to continue as a Minister, contending that since she has apologised, it means she has committed a “crime”.
Opposition members wanted clarifications from the Prime Minister but were disallowed. The House was adjourned for the day at 2.40 PM after five adjournments.
In the Lok Sabha too, the Opposition created uproar pressing for a statement from the Prime Minister failing which they unitedly decided to boycott the House proceedings for the day.
Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the main opposition in Lok Sabha Congress, accused the government of acting with “brute majority” and demanded that Modi give a statement in the House.
“”We have been asking for a statement from the Prime Minister for the past 2-3 days, but he is not giving any statement. They (government) think they have brute majority in the house and whatever they do will be fine. This is not good for democracy,” Kharge, along with opposition MPs from TMC, AAP, SP, Muslim League, told reporters outside the House.