PM's disapproval of Niranjan Jyoti's remarks fails to pacify Opposition; RS adjourned for the day

The stalemate in Rajya Sabha over the hate speech by Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti continued on Thursday with the Opposition appearing to be in no mood to relent on its demand for her ouster even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a statement on the issue.

New Delhi: The stalemate in Rajya Sabha over the hate speech by Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti continued on Thursday with the Opposition appearing to be in no mood to relent on its demand for her ouster even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a statement on the issue.

Here are the updates:

3:20 pm: The government has decided to build concrete National Highways and 36 cement manufacturers are willing to supply the material at the contracted price directly to government organisations at cheaper than market rates, Parliament was informed today.

3:00 pm: As many as 27 mines of Coal India having geological reserves of 1200 million tonnes are yet to begin production, Parliament was informed today.

2:43 pm: Kurien asks the protesting members if they wanted to proceed with Short Duration Discussion. He adjourns Rajya Sabha for the day as opposition demands dismissal of Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti.

2:40 pm: Amidst noisy scenes, a statement on the railway accident in Mau district of Uttar Pradesh this morning is being laid.

2:38 pm: Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is heard telling the protesting members that to stop proceedings even after PM's statement is not fair. For a brief moment some slogans were heard from the BJP benches as well.​

2:37 pm: Kurien tells the House members that the External Affairs Minister was ready to answer if they had any questions. However, the opposition members continue with their protests in the Well and shout slogans.

2:36 pm: Rajya Sabha resumes.

2:05 pm: With Opposition not in a mood to relent, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien adjourns the House for 30 minutes till 2:35 pm. 

2:03 pm: The protest by the Opposition grows louder and in the din, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj makes a statement on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visits abroad.

2:02 pm: Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien mentions that the Prime Minister has made a statement in the House and asks the protesting members as to "what is the justification of this obstruction?"

2:00 pm: Rajya Sabha meets again. Opposition members troop to the Well shouting slogans seeking dismissal of the minister for her controversial remarks. 

1:20 pm: We have decided to boycott today's Lok Sabha proceedings. We want a statement from the PM on Sadhvi's remark, says Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge

12:30 pm: Congress, TMC stage a walkout in Lok Sabha accusing Speaker Sumitra Mahajan of being partisan and working under BJP pressure. 

12:28 pm: The Speaker denies any pressure on the Chair, says she had to "maintain a balance" as listen to "400 members who also want to ask questions and want proceedings to continue". She adds whenever the opposition raised an issue, she has ensured that there is a response from the government.

12:24 pm: Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge tells Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan: "You are the custodian and only you can check such attitude and behaviour of the government. ... I am not saying that you have come under their pressure...What is the reason why the Prime Minister is not coming to the House and making a statement when we are protesting in such a peaceful manner." 

12:23 pm: Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2 PM as Opposition continues to demand sacking of Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti.

12:21 pm: Scenes still remain the same as the House reassembles. The opposition members rush into the Well once again. Ansari observes, "This is a very sad state of affairs."

12:19 pm: Amid uproar, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the PM has stated that he does not approve the expression used by Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and that she has tendered an apology​. "If the Congress party is still insisting (on resignation), I can only say that they are desperate and short of issues."

12:18 pm: Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ashwani Kumar says Prime Minister Modi's apology not enough. Sack Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, demands Kumar. 

12:02 pm: Rajya Sabha adjourned for 15 minutes during Question Hour as Opposition demands sacking of Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti.

12:01 pm: As Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari takes up the first listed question, Leader of the Opposition Anand Sharma requests him to allow members to "speak their mind" which was objected by members of the treasury bench. Ansari denies to give permission. Congress, SP and JD-U members troop into the Well. Ansari criticises their action as "utterly disgraceful". "This is utterly unbecoming of the members of Rajya Sabha, utterly disgraceful."

11:52 am: Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his family MPs join All India Trinamool Congress and Congress in the Well of Lok Sabha demanding the ouster of Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti​.

11:44 pm: In Lok Sabha, members of the Opposition troop near the speaker's podium and also raised slogans like "Achche din kahan kahan gaye, PM Modi jawaab do." (Where have the promises of good days gone, PM Modi give an answer).

11:43 pm: BJP member SS Ahluwalia, during Zero Hour in Lok Sabha, makes a strong plea that India should ask China to withdraw a latest map published by a Chinese news agency showing some parts of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) as part of Pakistan.

11:42 am: Rajya Sabha adjourned till noon as Opposition demands action against Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti for her controversial remarks despite PM Modi's statement.

11:41 am: The government says 16,771 km of roads were constructed against a target of 21,775 km under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana in the first seven months of this fiscal.

11:40 am: In Lok Sabha, the government says a slew of options are available for private players for investment in power sector for generation of electricity that include Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Transfer and Build-Operate-Transfer.

11:38 am: Radical changes would be made in the electoral system but any decision would be taken only after the Law Commission submits its report on the matter, Law Minister Sadananda Gowda says in Lok Sabha. "The issue of electoral reforms in its entirety has been referred to the Law Commission of India for its examination and report," he says during Question Hour.

11:36 am: The government has launched four schemes, including a technology mission, for promotion and growth of technical textiles, Lok Sabha was informed. Textiles Minister Santosh Gangwar said during Question Hour that three other projects are schemes for strengthening of database and standards for technical textiles, scheme for usage of agritextiles in the northeastern region and restructured technology urgradation fund scheme.​

11:35 am: Referring to Sadhvi's remark, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) says this is not the first time that such a statement has been made and there have been several such statements to vitiate communal atmosphere.

11:34 pm: Tiruchi Siva (DMK) asks as to why the Chair was depriving opportunity to one side to speak, Kurien says: "Don't cast aspersions on the Chair... You are depriving right of 15 members (who gave Zero Hour notice)." Kurien adds he has allowed Sharad Yadav (JD-U) to speak as he is a senior member and after his statement Zero Hour will be taken up.​

11:33 am: As opposition members refuse to resume their seats and treasury benches object to the repeated disruptions even after the Prime Minister's statement, Kurien says members were yesterday complaining that their Zero Hour concerns could not be taken up due to disruptions. "You are losing Zero Hour. Don't blame me," he says, adding: "You cannot have discussion on the same subject every day". 

11:32 am: Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav is trying hard to make himself heard in Rajya Sabha.

11:30 am: Senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury says Niranjan Jyoti had not apologised and had merely expressed regret. "Assuming that she has apologised... You apologise only when you have done some wrong," he said, demanding action against the minister.

11:28 am: Finance Minister and Leader of House Arun Jaitley says the Opposition had been demanding that the Prime Minister come to the House and make a statement. Now that Modi has made the statement, the House should get on to its business, he adds.

11:26 am: Congress leader Anand Sharma says the Prime Minister should take strong action against the minister as the Constitution does not permit such utterances.

11:23 am: PM Narendra Modi makes a statement in Rajya Sabha, says Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti has apologised, and the House should gracefully accept that and carry forward its business in national interest. Saying that he disapproved the kind of language used by the minister in the strongest terms, the PM adds we should refrain from making such statements and using such language.

Also Read: Sadhvi's remarks 'strongly disapproved' by PM Narendra Modi in Rajya Sabha

11:22 am: The House reassembles. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu says the Prime Minister wants to make a statement and he be allowed to do so.

11:07 am: The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned for 15 minutes following ruckus in the House over Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti's hate speech.

11:06 am: Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu makes a statement in the Lok Sabha on Mau mishap. The minister condoles death of children, terming the accident as unfortunate. He further blames van driver's carelessness for the accident.

Also Read: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu blames school van driver for UP accident

11:05 am: ​Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien asks ministers to lay the listed papers. Slogan shouting Congress members storm into the Well of Rajya Sabha. The slogan shouting continues even after Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien took up Zero Hour mentions.

10:40 am: A report says Prime Minister Narendra Modi has consulted his top ministers over continued logjam in Parliament.

10:35 am: Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu will reportedly give a statement in both Houses of Parliament on Mau mishap today. Five school children were killed and 25 others got injured when their school bus collided with a train in Uttar Pradesh's Mau district this morning.

8:00 am: Today is the Prime Minister’s day in Rajya Sabha during Question Hour.


Earlier news story

The Opposition on Wednesday continued to press for the removal of Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti for her abusive remarks, as its stalemate with the government on the issue disrupted proceedings of the Rajya Sabha for the second consecutive day.

A united opposition created an uproar in both houses, leading to repeated adjournments in the Rajya Sabha and once in the Lok Sabha.

The Delhi Police on Wednesday registered a complaint against the minister.

Both the houses got off to a stormy start, with the opposition members demanding the resignation of the minister of state for food processing who had used abusive language in her speech at a Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party rally.

"Aapko tay karna hai ki Dilli mein sarkar Ramzadon ki banegi, ya ha***zadon ki. (You have to decide if you want a government in Delhi to be led by children of Lord Ram or illegitimate children)," she was quoted as saying at the rally.

In the Rajya Sabha where the government is in minority, the opposition members advanced to the Chairman's podium, shouted slogans and demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's explanation on the issue.

"We feel shame in repeating what the minister said. A mere apology is unacceptable," Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury said.

Congress leader Anand Sharma said: "We don't accept apology. The Prime Minister should come to the house and sack the minister. It is a cognizable and non-compoundable crime, punishable up to three years in jail."

Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien had to thrice adjourn the proceedings of the house, before adjourning the house till 2 pm.

Post lunch, opposition members continued shouting slogans and demanded the minister's dismissal from the council of ministers.

Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav said Jyoti's comment was against the secular spirit of the Constitution.

As the disruptions continued, the house was adjourned for the day.

Similar scenes were witnessed in the Lok Sabha, where Prime Minister Modi was present.

Raising the issue, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said: "As the Prime Minister is present here today, I want the minister to be asked to resign."

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the minister has already apologised.

"Yesterday (Tuesday), the issue was discussed and the minister also apologised. Why are they raising the issue again?" he said.

The speaker also dismissed the adjournment motion and notice for suspension of question hour. MPs went near the speaker's podium shouting slogans like 'PM jawab do' (prime minister must answer).

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said all members will have to apologise if such issues get raised all the time.

The house was adjourned briefly amid din and resumed worked later.

Talking to reporters later, Parliamentary Affairs M Venkaiah Naidu ruled out resignation of the minister and took a dig at the opposition.

"All parties had moved ahead after accepting Sadhvi's statement of regret yesterday (Tuesday). I don't know what changed today (Wednesday). I don't know why the issue was raised once again in Parliament," Naidu said.

He said the previous Congress-led government had not removed Beni Prasad Verma as union minister following objectionable remarks made by him.