The Telegraph
Thursday , July 24 , 2014
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‘Hindustan-Pakistan’ red face for BJP

New Delhi, July 23: A BJP Lok Sabha member today added insult to the injury caused by a Shiv Sena counterpart, compelling the Narendra Modi government to express regret.

When the Sena MP’s outrageous behaviour towards the Maharashtra Sadan caterer’s employee cropped up in the House, Delhi MP Ramesh Bidhuri rushed menacingly towards protesting Opposition members and warned them: “This is Hindustan, not Pakistan.”

Parliamentary affairs minister M. Venkaiah Naidu disapproved of Bidhuri’s conduct and asked him to apologise.

But for the physical intervention by Union minister and Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete and a few other MPs, a scuffle would have broken out in the House. Bidhuri was held and taken back to his seat though he kept trying to return to the well of the Lok Sabha until Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House for 10 minutes.

When the House reassembled, Congress members protested loudly but the parliamentary affairs minister was quick to douse the flames. The Speaker also pleaded with both sides to end the dispute.

Bidhuri initially expressed regret, saying his conduct might not have been in tune with of the dignity of Parliament but asserted that he had said nothing wrong. The members rose in protest again, forcing the Speaker and the parliamentary affairs minister to direct him to express regret unconditionally.

Naidu, in the Lok Sabha, and his deputy Prakash Javadekar, in the Rajya Sabha, assured the Houses that a probe would be conducted into what happened at Maharashtra Sadan.

Naidu kept saying during the pandemonium that nobody knows the truth. “We are dealing with a sensitive issue. Don’t try to raise communal passions. Nobody knows the truth,” Naidu said.

The Speaker said the issue was not connected with the House but allowed Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge to raise it as it concerned religious sentiments.

Kharge allowed Kerala MP M.I. Shanavas to read out a statement of the employee in whose mouth Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare stuffed a roti.

The Sena MPs claimed they had only asked the person to taste the “terrible” food and denied force-feeding even as footage showing the MP thrusting the roti into the employee’s face was telecast.

The employee said in his complaint to the resident commissioner that the MPs refused to listen to him when he told them that he was on Ramazan fast. The Shiv Sena MPs insisted that they did not know about his religion.

However, one Sena MP said the roti was being thrust into his mouth but it was stopped as soon as the employee spoke of his religion.

PTI reported that in response to a question, BJP leader L.K. Advani disapproved of the incident and said: “This is wrong.”