A section of Congress members on Thursday staged a walkout in the Rajya Sabha, protesting against the remark of senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu that left their colleague Prabha Thakur in tears. Almost all women members of the Congress were up in arms against the remark and the refusal of the Chair to direct him to apologise stressing that the word was expunged.
Following an interjection from Congress members when he was speaking against foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, Mr. Naidu wondered from where the party had managed to get such members.
Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien immediately expunged the remark, but Congress members said it was directed against a specific woman member and demanded an apology from Mr. Naidu, who denied that he had called names. He clarified that he only said that members should not talk rashly (he had said it in Hindi).
Mr. Kurien’s efforts to continue with the debate met with opposition from Congress members and he adjourned the House for 10 minutes.
On resumption, Mr. Kurien said he would look into the records and if Mr. Naidu had used the term, he would take necessary action. The Treasury benches were unrelenting, particularly with an emotionally affected Ms. Thakur demanding justice.
BJP women members too sought to intervene, but Mr. Naidu said he did not target any specific member and that he merely said one should not talk carelessly.
But women members, supported by some of their male colleagues, staged a walkout.