New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today told Parliament that he has “criticized in the strongest terms” the language used by union minister Niranjan Jyoti in an election speech in Delhi. His statement did not placate the opposition, which stuck to its demand for the minister’s removal, paralyzing Parliament.
The government is trapped especially hard in the Upper House or Rajya Sabha where it is in a minority. As a potential compromise, the opposition has pitched that the Rajya Sabha adopt a unanimous resolution condemning Ms Jyoti’s statement without naming her. The government has reportedly indicated the resolution must include objectionable statements made in the past by other politicians, including Congress leader Sonia Gandhi who, ahead of the state election in Gujarat in 2007, alluded to Mr Modi, then the chief minister of the state, as “the merchant of death.”
In the meantime, the BJP has decided that Ms Jyoti will not address any more rallies in Delhi which will vote early next year.
“She has apologised and the House should gracefully accept that and continue its work in national interest,” Mr Modi said this morning in the Rajya Sabha, which has not functioned since Monday.
The Left’s Sitaram Yechury, a member of the Rajya Sabha, said, “An apology means admission of guilt, and in this case the Constitution has been violated. How can she remain a minister?”
In the Lok Sabha or Lower House, a united opposition walked out just before lunch, protesting that their mics were being switched off to censor their comments against the government. Opposition leaders like Mallikarjun Kharge of the Congress asked why the PM had made a statement only in the Rajya Sabha.
On Tuesday, Ms Jyoti, who is 47, apologised to lawmakers on Tuesday for her Sunday speech in which she said, “The people of Delhi have to decide if they want a government of Ramzaadon (descendants of Ram) or haramzaadon (those who are illegitimately born).”