Competing privilege motions were moved in Parliament on Tuesday by the ruling BJP and the Congress, along with the CPI(M), connected to the debate on the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula and sedition charges against students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The Congress and the Left took on HRD Minister Smriti Irani and the BJP targeted Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia. Congress MPs K.C. Venugopal and Ranjeet Ranjan and CPI(M) MP Mohammad Salim moved the privilege motion in the LS against Ms. Irani, while the BJP’s chief whip, Arjun Ram Meghwal, and Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya sent a notice of breach of privilege against Mr. Scindia, chief whip of the Congress in the House. While Speaker Sumitra Mahajan read out the names of all those whose notices she had received, Mr. Dattatreya was allowed to speak on his notice.
All this happened as AIADMK members were at the well, protesting the alleged involvement of the former Union Minister, P. Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis case.
Mr. Dattatreya accused Mr. Scindia of “defaming him” by saying that he had called Vemula casteist and anti-national.
All privilege notices under study, says Speaker
The ruling BJP and the Congress, with CPI(M), moved competing privilege motions in Parliament on Tuesday. While Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan read out the names of all those whose notices she had received, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya was allowed to speak on his notice, against chief whip of the Congress Jyotiraditya Scindia for defaming him on the Rohith Vemula issue. All this happened as AIADMK members were at the well, protesting the alleged involvement of the former Union Minister, P. Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis case.
Mr. Dattatreya accused Mr. Scindia of “defaming him and tarnishing” his image by saying that he had called Rohith Vemula casteist and anti-national. He insisted that he had not named Vemula in his letter to the HRD Minister Smriti Irani. “My mother used to sell onions. I have always worked for OBCs and Dalits. I have made sacrifices for Dalits,” he said. He said his letter to Ms. Irani, over which he has been attacked by the Congress, made no mention of Vemula’s name. “I never made such a charge against him.”
Congress members continued to protest, with K.C. Venugopal showing the rule book to the Speaker. “Don’t show me the rule book. I know,” she shot back.
She said all the notices for privilege motion were under consideration.
CPI(M) MP Mohammad Salim’s privilege motion against Ms. Irani says the facts that she had presented, especially on the medical attention provided to Vemula, were incorrect and the validity of the inquiry process Ms. Irani had elaborated on with regard to JNU was also questionable.
In the Rajya Sabha, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad reminded the chair that the Congress had given notice of privilege motion against the HRD Minister and wanted to know its status.