Rahul Gandhi met Bahujan Samaj Party MP Kunwar Danish Ali and posted photos of the meeting with a 'mohabbat ki dukaan' (shop of love) message.
New Delhi: The Islamophobic remarks by BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri have sparked disgust, outrage and widespread condemnation since they were made on Thursday evening. At least four opposition parties have written to the Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla, demanding immediate punitive action against the MP.
These include the Congress, DMK and the Trinamool Congress - the three opposition parties with the most number of MPs in the Lok Sabha. The Congress wrote to the Speaker minutes after Rahul Gandhi met Bahujan Samaj Party MP Kunwar Danish Ali
and posted photos of the meeting with a "mohabbat ki dukaan
" (shop of love) message.
All the letters demanded that the issue regarding Bidhuri's remarks be referred to the Privileges Committee of parliament. The Opposition parties have sought immediate action be taken against him. They also pointed to the "hypocrisy" of Congress' Leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, being suspended for one insulting remark but no comparable action being taken against the BJP MP who hurled communal rants against fellow MP.
In his letter to the Speaker, Congress's Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury demanded punitive action against Mr Bidhuri for "using brazenly abusive and unparliamentary words against a member of a leading political party, Danish Ali, who also happens to be from the minority community".
"What is even more regrettable is the fact that this unprecedented, unfortunate and unsavoury incident has happened during the Special Session of the Parliament, that has been convened to commemorate 75 years of its history and that too, during the course of the discussion to mark the success of 'Mission Chandrayaan III'," the letter said.
"Considering the circumstances and the brazen violation of all norms and rules relating to the functioning of the House, it would only be appropriate to have the matter examined in detail by the Privileges Committee and punitive action taken against the errant Member, Ramesh Bidhuri," he wrote.
DMK leader Kanimozhi, Trinamool MP Aparupa Poddar and Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule have also demanded strict action against the BJP parliamentarian for using "most foul, abusive invectives" against fellow MP
"During the course of his speech Mr. Ramesh Bidhuri directed the most foul, abusive invectives against Mr. Kunwar Danish Ali which are part of the record of the Lok Sabha," Kanimozhi said demanding a privilege motion against the BJP MP.
All four parties are also part of Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA). The issue, experts say, have brought the alliance members closer together especially in light of the speculation around seat-sharing disputes, the CPM's refusal to nominate a member to the coordination committee, and perceived differences over issues like the caste census., according to NDTV.
The Aam Aadmi Party - another member of the INDIA bloc - has also condemned the remarks and pointed to "no action" being taken against the BJP MP while their MPs Sanjay Singh and Raghav Chadha remain suspended.
"We condemn these remarks. These remarks show the ideology of the party (BJP). When our MPs raise pertinent issues, they are suspended while no action is taken over such remarks," AAP's chief national spokesperson Priyanka Kakkar told news agency PTI.
Bidhuri's comments were also condemned by Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, among others.
Speaker Warns Of 'Strict Action'
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has taken "serious notice" of the communal slurs hurled by Ramesh Bidhuri' and has warned the BJP MP of "strict action" if he repeated such behaviour.
The BJP has sent a show-cause notice to the MP and asked him to explain his conduct within 15 days. Senior party leader and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has also expressed regret in the Lok Sabha, "I express regret if the Opposition is hurt by the remarks made by the member." The Opposition parties, however, slammed him for offering a "half-hearted" apology.