BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri's derogatory remarks in Lok Sabha against BSP's Danish Ali triggered a massive outrage on Friday with Speaker Om Birla warning him of "strict action" if such behaviour is repeated and Ali asserting he could consider quitting the membership of the House if no step is taken.
The INDIA bloc parties rallied behind Ali who said it was nothing less than hate speech and demanded that the matter be referred to the privileges committee of the House even as the BJP issued a show cause notice to Bidhuri for his use of objectionable words during a discussion on the Chandrayaan mission's success on Thursday.
Amid calls by several opposition parties for Bidhuri's suspension from Lok Sabha, Speaker Birla took "serious note" of Bidhuri's comments and warned the Lok Sabha member from South Delhi of "strict action" if such behaviour was repeated in the future.
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary K C Venugopal visited the BSP leader and expressed solidarity with him. Later in a tweet, Gandhi posted pictures with Ali and said, "Nafrat ke bazaar mein mohabbat ki dukaan (shop for spreading love in market of hate)." Congress' leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, TMC's Aparupa Poddar, DMK's Kanimozhi and NCP leader Supriya Sule wrote to Birla over the issue and demanded that the matter be sent to the privileges committee.
A day after Bidhuri's remarks, Ali described these as "hate speech" and demanded the suspension of the ruling party's lawmaker from the House.
"This is nothing less than hate speech. This is hate speech on the floor of the House. Hate speeches were being made outside Parliament but now hate speech has been delivered on the floor of the House by a BJP MP," he told PTI.
Asked what would he do if action was not taken against Bidhuri, Ali said, "I expect that the speaker will take action on this. But if action is not taken, then with a heavy heart, I can consider quitting the membership of this House because people have not sent me to Parliament to listen to hate speeches." Ali wrote to Birla, demanding that the matter be referred to the privileges committee.
"I write to you with deep anguish regarding the speech given in Lok Sabha by an MP of the BJP Mr Ramesh Bidhuri during the discussion on 'Chandrayan success'. During the course of his speech, he directed the most foul, abusive invectives against me which are part of the record of the Lok Sabha," Ali said in his letter.
The BSP MP listed the objectionable words used by Bidhuri against him in the letter.
Several opposition parties and leaders slammed expressed support for Ali and also sought Bidhuri's suspension from House.
BSP supremo Mayawati said it was "unfortunate" that the BJP has not yet taken "appropriate" action against Bidhuri.
In a post in Hindi on X, she said, "Although the speaker has expunged the objectionable remarks made by BJP MP against BSP MP Danish Ali, warned him and a senior minister has apologised in the House, but it is sad/unfortunate that the party has not yet taken appropriate action against him." The Congress strongly condemned Bidhuri's remarks and demanded his immediate suspension from the House.
Terming the remarks an "insult to all MPs and the country", Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the apology offered by Union minister Rajnath Singh was a "mere eyewash" and not acceptable.
"It is an absolute shame what Bidhuri has said. Rajnath Singh's apology is simply not acceptable. It is a half-hearted apology, it was an afterthought.
"What Bidhuri has said is an insult to Parliament and makes a mockery of what the prime minister keeps repeating 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas, Sabka Sabka Vishvaas, Sabka Prayas' which becomes all 'bakwaas' (nonsense)," Ramesh told reporters here when asked about the issue.
The CPI(M) demanded the arrest of Bidhuri.
"No privilege for hate speech, arrest Ramesh Bidhuri. Filthy abusive language used by BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri against Danish Ali ( BSP) on the floor constitutes the worst kind of hate speech indicted by the SC. No MP can claim privilege for such speech. He should be arrested," the CPI(M) said in a statement.
In a post on X, Trinamool Congress member Mahua Moitra said, "Abusing Muslims, OBCs an integral part of BJP culture - most now see nothing wrong with it. Narendra Modi has reduced Indian Muslims to living in such a state of fear in their own land that they grin & bear everything. Sorry but I'm calling this out. Ma Kali holds my spine." She demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Lok Sabha Speaker take strict action against Bidhuri.
"Filthy language used by a BJP parliamentarian for fellow MP from BSP Kunwar Danish Ali. No shame left. This is sickening. Will Speaker Lok Sabha take note and take action," Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and Rajya Sabha member Priyanka Chaturvedi said on X.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh wondered whether Bidhuri's language was a result of the values taught by the RSS.
RJD president Lalu Prasad accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of giving rise to a "depraved social and political culture" which was manifest in the behaviour of BJP parliamentarians.
"I raised the issue of violence in Manipur and I was suspended. What action will be taken against this MP who abused K Danish Ali," Singh said on X.
BJP Lok Sabha members Harsh Vardhan and Ravi Shankar Prasad were also criticised by several leaders, including Ali, for "laughing" when Bidhuri was making the abusive remarks.
The Nationalist Congress Party demanded that Birla take action against Bidhuri.
"What is very disgusting is BJP MPs Harsh Vardhan and Ravi Shankar Prasad were laughing instead of stopping or correcting Bidhuri from speaking in such a manner," Clyde Crasto, national spokesperson of NCP's Sharad Pawar-led group, told reporters in Mumbai.
Prasad and Vardhan distanced themselves from their party colleague Bidhuri's objectionable remarks as they came under attack for allegedly laughing at the time of the incident.
The remarks were expunged from parliamentary records and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh immediately expressed regret for Bidhuri's behaviour in the House.
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