Dantewada attack prompts repeated adjournments of Lok Sabha


New Delhi : There were unpleasant scenes in the Lok Sabha Thursday with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the ruling Congress accusing each other of using Maoist guerrillas for electoral gains, prompting repeated adjournments.

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BJP and Congress MPs were caught in an ugly row over the April 6 Dantewada massacre, forcing Speaker Meira Kumar to interrupt the debate and adjourn the house for a half hour at 12.30 p.m.

The house, which resumed the budget session after a month-long break Thursday, reassembled at 1 p.m. but the unrest continued.

Congress MPs demanded action against BJP leader Yashwant Sinha for his comments. The speaker said she would check the records, promising action if she found anything against the rules.

But the interruptions continued and she adjourned the house again till 2 p.m.

BJP’s Sinha, a former finance minister, initiated the debate and assured the government of the party’s full support in its war against Left extremism in mineral-rich central India.

But he went on to lambast the government the way it has tackled the Maoist problem, which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said is the “greatest threat” to India’s internal security.

Sinha said the Congress used Maoists for political gains in some states and sent a “wrong signal” that the government was “ready to compromise on terrorism”.

“You forged an alliance with Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh for electoral benefits,” he thundered.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal reacted sharply and said the BJP leader had forgotten the relationship his party has with Maoists in Chhattisgarh.

“He doesn’t know what relationship his party has with Maoists. He has forgotten that,” Bansal said, this time triggering protests from BJP MPs.

“On one hand he is expressing BJP’s support and on the other he is levelling allegations,” Bansal said.

Sinha earlier “condemned with contempt” the remarks by Congress leader Digvijay Singh accusing the BJP of having a nexus with the guerrillas in Chhattisgarh.

As the noise grew louder amid the allegations and counter-allegations, Meira Kumar asked Sinha not to “level allegations which you are not able to substantiate”.

She said the house was discussing “something very serious”.

“This is a tragedy which has saddened all of us. This is not the debate where allegations should be levelled� All parties should put their heads together and see how we can eliminate such incidents,” Meira Kumar said about the brutal killing of 76 security men in Chhattisgarh.

In the morning, the Lok Sabha had been adjourned over demands for a debate on the Dantewada attack, the worst since the Maoist insurgency began over four decades ago.