The suspended Congress MP who spewed out pepper spray in the Lok Sabha on Thursday is unfazed by criticism, saying he did so in self-defence.
Lagadapati Rajagopal said he always carried a pepper spray can as he was under great threat from pro-Telangana protesters.
Pepper spray, he said, is used by women in self-defence. “Here I had been under attack,” the two-time MP from Vijayawada said when asked if it was right on his part to use it. The House was thrown into turmoil and three MPs had to be hospitalised immediately and another later after Mr. Rajagopal, often called Lanco Rajagopal as he owns Lanco Industries, released the spray when the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2013, was tabled. Speaker Meira Kumar suspended him.
Mr. Rajagopal told presspersons outside Parliament that he released the spray only when he was attacked by Congress MPs. He demanded action against those MPs, alleging they had pounced on him and the Telugu Desam Party’s M. Venugopal Reddy.
“In fact, I went to rescue Venugopal Reddy, who was targeted by Congress MPs while protesting in the well. When they started attacking me too, I used pepper spray in self-defence.” “I don’t have any security ever. So I felt that as women who protect themselves with pepper spray, let me also have something because I know how these divisive forces have created a ruckus on many occasions. So I always carry that in my pocket.”
Taking on the party leadership, Mr. Rajagopal, who is the son-in-law of the former Union Minister P. Upendra, said the Congress talked about democracy but indulged in blame game.
Later in the evening, talking to The Hindu, he said, “I am sorry,” as the pepper spray had caused much inconvenience to the fellow members of the Lok Sabha and journalists. “But the Congress is responsible for the unfortunate thing that happened in the House,” he said.
Keywords: pepper spray attack, Parliament proceedings, Rajya Sabha proceedings, Lok Sabha proceedings, Andhra Pradesh bifurcation, separate statehood, Telangana issue, Telangana bill, L. Rajagopal, Seemandhra MP