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  India   All India  03 Feb 2024  BJP, Congress spar over MP's 'South India' demand

BJP, Congress spar over MP's 'South India' demand

THE ASIAN AGE. | YOJNA GUSAI
Published : Feb 3, 2024, 2:08 am IST
Updated : Feb 3, 2024, 2:08 am IST

The charged atmosphere saw the Congress and other Opposition MPs staging a walkout amidst slogans of "shame shame" from the Treasury Benches

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in Rajya Sabha during the Budget session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. (PTI Photo)
 Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in Rajya Sabha during the Budget session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: A tumultuous scene unfolded in the Rajya Sabha on Friday as the Treasury Benches, spearheaded by Leader of the House Piyush Goyal and finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, vehemently sought an apology from the Congress for what they deemed a "divisive" statement made by Lok Sabha MP D.K. Suresh. The statement hinted at a call for a separate South India in response to perceived fiscal injustice. The charged atmosphere saw the Congress and other Opposition MPs staging a walkout amidst slogans of "shame shame" from the Treasury Benches.

Leader of the Opposition and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge attempted to raise the issue of the delay in government formation in Jharkhand, but the Union ministers dismissed it as a "diversionary tactic" to shift attention from the contentious statement made by Congress MP. Kharge asserted that the MP had clarified on TV that he did not make the reported statement and suggested the matter be reviewed by the privileges committee of Lok Sabha.

In the Lok Sabha, during the Zero Hour, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi condemned the statement made by Congress member. He demanded that the matter be referred to the Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha. Opposition MPs, including the Congress and DMK, were on their feet during Joshi's statement, and they later staged a brief walkout.

Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar informed members that the Upper House was aware of the Lok Sabha MP's remarks. Dhankhar emphasised that such issues could not be taken lightly and suggested that the matter be subjected to "exemplary consequences." He instructed Piyush Goyal to present details of the Lok Sabha MP's purported remarks before the House.

Leader of the House Piyush Goyal condemned the "very unfortunate" remarks made by the Congress MP, labelling them as against the Constitution and the sovereignty and integrity of the country. He stated that the divisive thinking of the Congress was reflected in such statements.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, addressing the walkout staged by Congress and other Opposition parties, accused the Congress of favouring corruption. She contended that the walkout was a diversionary tactic and criticised the Congress for not outrightly condemning the statement.

Demanding an apology from the Congress over its MP's remarks, Piyush Goyal asserted that the country would not tolerate such a divisive approach. He called on the Congress president to clarify the party's association with the statement and questioned whether the party aimed to divide the country into north and south.

Congress Lok Sabha MP D.K. Suresh, representing Bangalore Rural, had asserted that injustice was meted out to southern states in the allocation of share in tax collection, with the tax money being distributed to North India. The BJP vehemently condemned Suresh's statement, asserting that he had no right to remain an MP and accused him of openly advocating the breaking of India, violating his oath to protect the country's unity and sovereignty. BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad criticised Congress leaders, including Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi, and Rahul Gandhi, for maintaining a "conspicuous silence" over Suresh's "shameful" and "unconstitutional" comments.

 

Tags: interim budget, dk suresh, south india
Location: India, Delhi