Parliament strongly condemns assault on Pawar

Parliament on Friday strongly condemned the assault on Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar at a public function.

Updated: Nov 25, 2011, 16:06 PM IST

New Delhi: The attack on Agriculture Minister
Sharad Pawar on Friday saw Parliament strongly condemn the
incident, with several members utilising the occasion to
target the electronic media for sensationalism and Anna Hazare
for the way he reacted over the issue.

Leaders from different parties demanded stern action
against the attacker as Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and
Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari condemned the assault on
Pawar at a public function yesterday.

"People may express divergent views on any issue,... but
the attempt to cause physical harm should be condemned by the
entire House in the strongest terms," Finance Minister Pranab
Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee, who is also Leader of the House, described
Pawar as a senior politician and parliamentarian of long
standing.

Agreeing with him, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj
said, "no amount of words are sufficient" enough to condemn
the attack on Pawar, who has always been "nice and decent".

Amid cries of `shame, shame`, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav
lambasted the electronic media for "showing one slap as 50
slaps by constantly focussing on such incidents and glorifying
them".

He lamented that an attempt was being made to malign the
entire political class despite the fact that several leaders
have spent decades in selfless service. "This atmosphere needs
to be changed," he said.

Among those who criticised the media were Dhananjay Singh
of BSP, TKS Elangovan of DMK, Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) and
Putul Kumari (Ind), with some of them saying that channels
were glorifying the wrong things for increasing their TRP
(television rating points).

Dasgupta attacked Hazare saying the way he reacted to the
assault on Pawar was wrong. Yadav, Kumari and Reoti Raman
Singh (SP) also took potshots at the Gandhian without naming
him.

Maintaining that Indian democracy was passing through a
difficult phase, Yadav said "lumpen elements" were ruling the
roost as the political class and democratic institutions were
being demeaned and defamed.

The NDA Convenor, who was repeatedly cheered by several
members, warned that if institutions like Parliament are
destroyed, then entire Indian democracy would be in peril.

All institutions should observe decency and decorum and
not cross the `lakshman rekha`, Yadav said.

Pawar was not present in the House though he is a member
of the Lok Sabha, but his daughter Supriya Sule was seen
listening to the discussion with rapt attention.

CPI(M) leader Basudeb Acharia said while people have the
right to protest government policies, this was not the way.
"It is an insult to democracy," he said.

Dasgupta said if the culprit was protesting price rise and
corruption in this manner, he was "actually weakening the
protest on these issues."

"Slapping of a minister to protest is not acceptable in a
democratic society. Parliament must condemn this method of
protest. Individual vandalism is most heinous," he said.

Several members, including Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (RJD),
Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) and Reoti Raman Singh (SP), wanted a
probe into how the attacker was going scot-free after he was
involved in a similar incident some time back.

Some members like Bhratruhari Mahtab (BJD) wondered
whether there was lack of security for Pawar or whether there
was a breach.

All members including former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda
(JD-S) and Anant Geete (Shiv Sena) wanted stern action against
the attacker, with Gowda describing his action as
"unpardonable".

PTI