With members of the Rajya Sabha not pacified by an apology tendered by the treasury benches on Friday for a derogatory remark allegedly made by Mani Shankar Aiyar of the Congress, describing MPs shouting in the well as animals, the Chair has called for a personal explanation from him.
Members belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Left, the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal rose in unison, taking exception to Mr. Aiyar’s reported observation made during a TV debate on the impasse in Parliament on the FDI issue.
With the members relentlessly urging action by the Chair against Mr. Aiyar, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla intervened and tendered an apology, saying he should not have used those words if he had actually done so. The Minister said he would talk to the MP and ask him to personally tender an apology. But finding that the enraged members were dissatisfied with his intervention, Mr. Shukla assured them that there were other provisions to take care of such situations.
While declining the demand for action, Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said Mr. Aiyar, if he so desired, could come to the House and explain himself on the issue. The MP was not there when the matter was raised during zero hour, and the Chair refused to summon him. Mr. Kurien, however, said if Mr. Aiyar was reluctant to clarify himself, then the Chair would examine the issue under relevant rules.
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury asked the Chair to refer the matter to the Privileges Committee, while others wanted it taken up by the Ethics Committee.
BJP deputy leader Ravi Shankar Prasad and his colleague Rajiv Pratap Singh Rudy said it was not just a question of breach of privilege but it amounted to an insult to the House. The RJD’s Prem Chand Gupta said Mr. Aiyar’s remarks were intolerable.