The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha proceedings were on Monday adjourned till March 14 amid uproar over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's democracy remarks in the UK, with the government demanding his apology.
As the House re-convened at 2 PM, BJP MPs and those from the treasury benches raised slogans seeking an apology from Gandhi over his remarks. The Opposition benches hit back, shouting slogans demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Adani-Hindenburg issue.
Papers and standing committee reports were tabled amid constant sloganeering from both sides and after that several MPs rushed to the Well of the House.
With MPs not heeding to repeated requests by Rajendra Agrawal, who was in the Chair, to let the House function, he adjourned the House for the day.
Earlier in the day, after obituary references in the House, Defence Minister and Deputy Leader of the Lok Sabha Rajnath Singh stood up, and charged that Gandhi has tried to defame India in London through his remarks on Indian democracy.
“Rahul Gandhi, who is a member of the Lok Sabha, had gone to London and tried to 'discredit' India and said the democratic system in India is completely crumbling. He also said that foreign powers should save India's democracy. He tried to 'deeply hurt' India's honour and prestige,” he said.
Gandhi had recently alleged in London that the structures of Indian democracy are under brutal attack and there is a full-scale assault on the institutions of the country.
Singh appealed to Speaker Om Birla that the House should condemn Gandhi's remarks and the Congress leader should be directed to tender an apology.
“I appeal to you for condemnation of Rahul Gandhi's remarks by this House. You should also direct him to tender an apology in this House for his comments," he said.
Ruling NDA members shouted slogans seeking Gandhi's apology even before Singh started to speak.
The Opposition Congress protested strongly too and came to the well of the House.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi asked where was democracy when fundamental rights were "trampled" during the Emergency and where was democracy when an ordinance, duly approved by the Union Cabinet, was torn (by Rahul Gandhi during the UPA government).
“When fundamental rights were trampled during the Emergency, who was in power, what had happened to democracy then. When an ordinance, which was duly approved by the Union Cabinet chaired by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and in attendance of cabinet ministers like Sharad Pawar and Pranab Mukherjee, was torn apart and described as nonsense, where was democracy at that time," he asked.
"When the then prime minister looked 'helpless', where was democracy then," he asked.
Joshi said he condemns Gandhi for "seeking intervention of foreign powers like the US and the Europe".
"If he has some shame, he should come to this House and tender an apology. This is our demand,” he said.
Joshi said India is the mother of democracy and Gandhi allegedly cast aspersions on the Speaker and Chair of the House in foreign soil.
“Rahul accused the speaker... But his microphone was on. He was given enough opportunity to speak and spoke in the House freely,” he said.
Speaker Om Birla said democracy in India is strong and getting stronger.
“Let the House function properly. Everyone will get an opportunity. Slogan-shouting is not good. People of this country have great faith in our democracy. Even foreign MPs and chairs, who often visit us, accept this,” he said.