New Delhi, July 31: The Ayodhya impasse continued to hound the BJP in Parliament today as the Opposition demanded a discussion on yesterday’s screening of videotapes from December 1992.
The Opposition alleged the evidence the CBI handed to the Rae Bareli court did not contain crucial speeches made by deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani on the Babri Masjid issue.
The three videotapes screened yesterday before Special Judge V.K. Singh did not show any of the eight accused Sangh parivar leaders, including Advani, make any inflammatory speech before, during or after the demolition.
At the end of an acrimonious day, the Centre agreed to a discussion in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. The House will discuss “misuse of CBI as an investigating agency” under rule 193, which does not entail voting.
Parliamentary affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had initially opposed the discussion on the ground the matter was sub-judice.
Outside Parliament, BJP chief M. Venkaiah Naidu dared the Congress to come up with proof that the Centre tampered with any Ayodhya evidence. Forcing adjournments in both Houses, Congress members accused the CBI of presenting doctored tapes and insisted on a discussion.
In the Lok Sabha, the Congress led by Priya Ranjan Das Munshi raised a hue and cry and served an adjournment notice. As agitated party members gathered in the well of the House, their BJP counterparts rushed forward. The Lok Sabha was adjourned amid the chaos that followed. When it met later, Das Munshi again raised the adjournment notice, which was rejected by the Speaker.
In the Rajya Sabha, the BJP wrestled with the Opposition for 45 minutes as it demanded suspension of question hour for a discussion on the CBI evidence.
Rajya Sabha chairperson Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, however, was as adamant in his resolve not to scrap question hour.
“The Prime Minister is in charge of the CBI. We want to hear what he has to say on this issue,” CPM MP Nilotpal Basu said. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was present in the House throughout the din. He looked on in silence along with his ministers Arun Jaitley, Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha as the Opposition shouted slogans.
Repeating their demand, senior Congress members refused Swaraj a chance to speak.
Failing to silence the members, Shekhawat said: “This House is not for sloganeering. The entire country is watching. You framed the rules not to disrupt question hour. It is in my powers to suspend this hour. But I have refused to do so.”
A similar standoff in the House on the Ayodhya issue had occurred earlier this week. Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Nirupam had then reminded members they had agreed not to disrupt question hour when they could seek clarifications from the ministers concerned.
The chairperson had adjourned the House then for 45 minutes.