How Smriti Irani saved the Lok Sabha from disgrace on Monday

New Delhi, March 2, 2020-

As a showdown between the Congress and the BJP in the Lok Sabha over Delhi riots snowballed into a major scuffle with their members almost coming to blows, timely intervention by Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani saved the Parliament from disgrace on the first day of the Budget session’s second leg.

A visibly perturbed Speaker Om Birla had to finally appeal that “all efforts should be made to maintain the dignity of the House”. He also expressed his “personal pain” over the ruckus created in the House amid repeated adjournments throughout the day.

Demanding resignation of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the Congress-led opposition had a heated argument with treasury benches. Even after the house was adjourned, members stayed in the chamber and continued heckling each other.

It all started when Congress members Gaurav Gogoi and Gurjit Singh Aujla tried to raise a banner in front of BJP’s Sanjay Jaiswal to prevent him from speaking, and then, a few BJP members including Ramesh Bidhuri tried to snatch away the banner from Gogoi.

Some more MPs from both sides joined the tussle. As the situation came close to blows being exchanged, Irani swiftly moved from her seat and stood between the opposing sides. She was joined by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and the two senior BJP leaders tried to pacify both sides.

At this, Congress leader in the house, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary, also rose from his seat and began pacifying party members.

The House was reconvened at 4 p.m.

However, this time, the female members of Congress and BJP got engaged in a scuffle. Congress member from Kerala and party’s Dalit face Ramya Haridas, who was displaying a banner before the Speaker’s podium, was stopped from approaching towards the treasury benches. Ramya later told IANS she was physically assaulted by BJP MP Jaskaur Meena.

As women members from both sides got enraged and the scene turned a bit ugly, Irani again rushed from her seat to intervene and with folded hands, requested both Congress and BJP members to calm down and return to their seats.

Parliament Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi also tried to placate all the members. The House was again adjourned for half an hour.

According to a BSP member, absence of senior leaders like Nitin Gadkari, Ram Vilas Paswan or Rajnath Singh on the treasury benches and Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on opposition side led to the chaos.

“But still I would say, Smriti ji saved the House today from disgrace. Seeing the rising tempers of several members, anything could have happened ..but she managed the situation,” the member added.

At 4.30 p.m., the Speaker requested the house to maintain dignity. He also said that after taking note of the ruckus and subsequent adjournments, the House cannot be run and adjourned it for the day.  (Agency)