Pranab's angry remark leads to adjournment of LS



New Delhi: An angry remark by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the midst of uproar over a spate of issues, including demand for jute bags for wheat, led to adjournment of the Lok Sabha for over an hour this afternoon.

As BJP members stormed the Well to press their demand for availability of jute bags, an agitated Mukherjee tried to respond, but when they continued with the protest he made a certain remark angering the entire BJP.

AIADMK members too trooped into the Well seeking to have a say in the Aircel-Maxis deal that took place in 2006. The issue was raised by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha targeting the then Finance Minister, alleging that his son was involved.

Home Minister P Chidambaram was the Finance Minister at that time. Amid cries of 'shame, shame' by the opposition members, Sinha alleged that the son of the former Finance Minister got a 5 per cent shares from Maxis.

"Prima facie what happened was a big scam and government should not hush it up," Sinha said, demanding a statement from Mukherjee, who is the Leader of the House, as also the Finance Minister.

A few minutes later, BJP members, especially those from Madhya Pradesh, stormed the Well to press for their demand for jute bags for wheat. They returned to their seats when Mukherjee tried to placate them with a response. He, however, appeared visibly angry saying they have raised the issue for the second consecutive day.

Some remarks from him worsened the situation with agitated BJP members rushing back into the Well and the Speaker adjourning the House till 2 pm amid sharp reaction from the Opposition.

AIADMK members, wanting to speak on the Aircel-Maxis deal, too stormed the Well when Kumar adjourned the House.

Earlier, when they wanted to have their say, the Speaker moved to another issue with Bishnupad Ray (BJP) narrating the mistreatment meted out to him by a Home Ministry official yesterday when he had gone to meet him on a matter concerning his constituency of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

This led to sharp protests from the BJP and some other sections of the House.

Responding quickly, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the government views very seriously any mistreatment of any member. He said he is personally taking the matter to the Home Minister.

When the BJP members continued to press for their demand, Speaker Meira Kumar observed that she was already seized of the matter and had initiated appropriate action on it before the House met for the day.

"My responsibility is not just to run the House but also to uphold the respect and ensure safety of the members. We have to ensure that this does not happen again," she said.

PTI