Members of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, a UPA ally, on Friday sought suspension of question hour in the Lok Sabha, protesting non-availability of interpretation facilities. This led to a brief adjournment as they demanded an apology by Speaker Meira Kumar for the inconvenience.
The issue was raised by T.R. Baalu of the DMK when Minister of State for Power Bharatsinh Solanki was replying in Hindi to a query on hydropower projects. The audio system could not translate the reply into English owing to a technical problem.
The Speaker assured the DMK member that the problem would be set right soon, but he was not pacified. “We do not want to sit [in the House]. Suspend question hour for some time or we will have to boycott it,” Mr. Baalu said as he began walking in the aisle, followed by other party members.
At this point, Mr. Solanki made an offer to answer in English, which was objected to by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Its members said that since the question was put in Hindi by Hansraj Ahir (BJP), the reply should also be in Hindi, which was the national language and should be respected.
In the ensuing din, the Speaker adjourned the proceedings for 15 minutes.
When the House reassembled, the Speaker said, “I want to apologise. There was some technical fault in English translation. So some members may have felt inconvenient. It has been corrected.”
Even as normality was being restored, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, along with other members, insisted on the use of Hindi. However, Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee shouted back, asking him to sit down and reminding him that he had also been a Cabinet Minister