Lok Sabha derailed over Modi tirade against Manmohan, government to talk (Roundup)

The Lok Sabha was again disrupted on Tuesday over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's allegations against former premier Manmohan Singh, with Congress MPs shouting slogans and staging a walkout.

In the Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad raised the issue during Question Hour but the House was spared noisy scenes after the government extended an olive branch.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley conveyed the government's willingness to hold talks on the matter with the opposition.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, however, was stern when she bluntly told the sloganeering Congress MPs that she would not allow "something said on the road" to be discussed inside the House.

As soon as the Lower House met, Congress members tried to raise the matter but Speaker Mahajan denied them permission and went ahead with the Question Hour.

The agitated members then trooped to the Speaker's podium raising slogans and demanding an apology from Modi.

"All elections are over, the things that are said on the roads shall not come to Parliament... I am not allowing you to raise the issue," Mahajan said.

"Again and again I am requesting you, don't disrupt the Question Hour. As per rules I cannot allow and I will not allow... If you don't want the session to run, give it in writing," she added amid the ruckus before adjourning the House till 12 noon.

When the House met again, the Congress members continued their protest.

Standing near the Speaker's podium, Congress members appeared to be addressing the Chair, though their voices were not audible.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge also tried to speak but was denied permission. Congress then staged a walkout from the House.

The House went ahead with the Zero Hour, with a few members also complaining about the ruckus.

Before Mahajan adjourned the House for lunch, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar slammed the Congress.

"Whatever the Congress did today is shameful and condemnable. They raised an issue and came to the Well of the House, which is wrong in itself. They also tried to run mock proceedings from the well. Mallikarjun Kharge without permission tried to read out a whole speech. This is an insult of the Chair," he said. "May God give them sense."

The Upper House, however, peacefully transacted all its listed business after the government invited the opposition parties to discuss a way out of the impasse.

The Congress, which has been demanding Modi's apology over the remarks, agreed to the idea after Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu held an informal meeting with the treasury and opposition leaders.

"We will find a solution. We will certainly invite all my colleagues, including the Leader of Opposition, and discuss the issue," said Jaitley, also the Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha.

Jaitley's assurance came after Azad raised the issue.

"Levelling allegations during election campaign are not new but some are dangerous for the country and as well democracy. Such allegations have been levelled against a former Prime Minister, a former Vice President and others. Their dignity and loyalty have been questioned. The Prime Minister should come to the House and clarify. If anybody is found guilty, action should be taken," Azad said.

Naidu informed the House that he held an informal meeting of the leaders of the parties. "I hope the government will talk to opposition leaders and will find a solution."

He said Manmohan Singh met him and told him about the allegation made against him.

After Jaitley's assurance, the Congress leaders went back to their seats and the Question Hour went ahead.

Modi, during the election campaign in Gujarat, had claimed that at a dinner meeting at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's house, the guests, including Manmohan Singh, discussed the Gujarat polls with Pakistan's High Commissioner to India and former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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