Delhi: Sparks flew in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday as the raging JNU row and suicide of Dalit student Rohith Vemula was taken up for discussion, with Opposition accusing the government of muzzling the voice of the youth and "mercilessly crushing" the principles of democracy.
To counter the opposition onslaught, BJP targeted Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for his "support" to those standing with hanged Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and said the House has to decide if it stands with those who attacked Parliament or those who laid down their lives defending it.
The debate, on the first working day of Budget session, saw accusations and counter-accusations, with both ruling and opposition sides underlining their credentials as "nationalists".
Initiating the debate, Congress' Chief Whip Jyotiraditya Scindia alleged "undue interference" by Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani and Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya in Vemula's case.
Replying to charges of Opposition, Irani became emotional at one point of time and was seen fighting off tears.
She said that she was disturbed by the fact some people were questioning her integrity as a minister.
"Mera naam Smriti Irani hain. Meri jaati kya hain bataon," the HRD minister said during her reply.
(With Agency inputs)