New Delhi : The Lok Sabha saw two adjournments on Tuesday following protests by Congress members over Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s statement about a food park in Amethi.
The issue generated considerable heat in the house with the Congress members alleging that members from the treasury benches were being allowed to speak repeatedly on the issue.
The issue of the scrapping of the food park was raised by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in the house last week. Rahul, who is the MP from Amethi, had also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue.
Congress members vociferously protested on Tuesday after Badal sought to make a statement on the issue. Some members from the treasury benches were also on their feet.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said the minister was not able to make her full statement earlier, so she was allowed to speak on the issue again.
At one point, she asked Congress members if they did not want her to continue in the chair.
“If you don’t want me as Speaker, I have nothing to say,” she said.
Congress member Deepender Hooda, who had said that members from the treasury benches had spoken five times on the issue, later expressed regret to the house, saying that he did not intend to question the ruling of the Speaker.
“If I have spoken some words about the ruling of the chair or the dignity of the chair, it was not my intention or feeling to do so. If there has been something like this, I express my regret,” Hooda said in the house after its second adjournment till 12 noon.
The house was earlier adjourned for about 15 minutes on the issue till 11.30 a.m.
After the house met following its first adjournment, Congress leader of the house Mallikarjun Kharge said BJP member Kirit Somaiya, Badal and Home Minister Rajnath Singh had spoken on the issue earlier and asked under what rule had the food processing minister been allowed to speak again.
As the Bharatiya Janata Party members protested his remarks, Kharge said he was ready to face any action and vacate his seat.
He said the Congress had given notice for an adjournment motion which had not been accepted by the Speaker.
“We are very much hurt,” he said.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu asked Kharge not to make any threats. He said the Congress had raised the issue of the food park and the government was responding to it. He also urged the Speaker to remove any remarks which questioned her decision.
Sumitra Mahajan asked the Congress members to cool down and said she had been allowing them to raise issues of their concern during zero hour.
She said the adjournment motion was quite general and it was an issue to be raised during zero hour.
“I have written record. You said I did not give time. Please, cool down. Don’t be so angry. This is not the way,” she said.
Mahajan said when Badal spoke for the first time on the food park issue, she could not complete her statement and had requested that she be allowed to put all the facts before the house. “That’s why I have allowed,” she said.
As Hooda alleged that the treasury benches had spoken on the issue five times, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that he had got facts from Harsimrat Kaur and also conveyed them to Rahul Gandhi.
“I don’t understand if the minister gives information twice on a question raised why is there an objection?,” he said.
Mahajan asked Congress members to check the record to see if the government had spoken five times on the issue.
“If it is not five times, will you say sorry?…You go through the record and then come to me. This is not fair,” she said.