22 July, New Delhi
Proceedings in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were washed out on Friday following vociferous protests over AAP lawmaker Bhagwant Mann’s video about security on Parliament premises even as Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said action will be taken against the member.
“We will take some action definitely,” Mahajan told agitated members in the Lok Sabha as a number of them demanded action against the Sangrur MP from Punjab.
The Speaker also took a stern view later after Mann met her and tendered “an unconditional apology” for uploading a video of Parliament’s internal security on social media.
However, Mahajan said: “The issue isn’t something that can be resolved by mere apology.”
“All members are agitated. It is a matter of security of Parliament. I would have taken a prompt decision if it had been inside the House. I am talking to everyone,” she said.
The Aam Aadmi Party MP on Thursday shot a video clip of the journey from his residence to Parliament House, including going past the various security pickets, and uploaded it on social media, drawing flak for putting the security of Parliament House in peril.
Uproarious scenes prevailed in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha soon after the day’s proceedings began with members from BJP, Akali Dal and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) demanding action against Mann.
In the Lok Sabha, members from the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal-United and Samajwadi Party also rushed to the Speaker’s podium holding placards demanding “right” to reservation in promotions but there was pandemonium soon after NDA members sought action against Mann.
Initially, the Lok Sabha was adjourned for almost an hour till noon. Shortly after it reassembled there was no let up in the situation and the Speaker finally adjourned the house till Monday.
Similar scenes were witnessed in the Rajya Sabha which too was ultimately adjourned till Monday morning. The proceedings in the upper house had to be adjourned thrice earlier on Friday.
Both the houses could not transact any business on Friday, making an exception in the on-going monsoon session as during the last four days a number of bills were passed by both the houses.
In the Lok Sabha, even though Mann tried to say something, Speaker Mahajan asserted that the matter was “serious”.
“Koi na koi karyavahi karenge (we will take some action definitely),” she said trying to cool tempers as most members, including the likes of Kirit Somaiya, R.K. Singh and P.S. Chandumajra, looked agitated.
Mahajan said that, among others, Somaiya, Maheish Giri, Udit Raj and Chandumajra had moved privilege notices against Mann.
Congress floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge too echoed a similar sentiment and maintained that the episode concerned the security of parliament and democracy.
BJP sources claim there have been several complaints against Mann on his “conduct” in parliament earlier also. A section of the treasury benches, however, saw the Mann episode as an issue that could subside the controversy pertaining to violence against Dalits in Gujarat.
In presence of Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the Lok Sabha, BJD MP B. Mahtab recalled that 13 people had laid down their lives protecting parliament on December 13, 2001.
“The matter was so serious that Sonia Gandhi who was not present in the House then had called up the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and enquired about the incident,” Mahtab said.
Meanwhile, Mann tendered an “unconditional apology” to the Lok Sabha Speaker in writing.
“I have written to the Speaker tendering an unconditional apology,” Mann told reporters and maintained that he had taken the video footage and circulated it on social networking sites “anjaane mein” (in ignorance).
The proceedings in the upper house were also stalled as members Naresh Gujral, Anand Sharma and Sitaram Yechury demanded action against Mann even while BJP members trooped near the Chairman’s podium shouting slogans.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Mann’s action could give out details of Parliament security to terrorists.
Post-lunch, as Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien tried to take up the private members’ bills, BJP members once again trooped near the Chairman’s podium.
Anand Sharma hit at the ruling party and urged Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to respond. “The leader of the house should inform what action is being taken,” he said.
Kurien also questioned why the ruling party members were disrupting the proceedings and later adjourned the house till Monday.