Opposition parties and BJP MPs had both written to the Lok Sabha Speaker.
A week after BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri hurled communal slurs at Muslim MP Danish Ali in the Lok Sabha, the matter has been referred to the Privileges Committee. The sting in the tail, however, is that the panel will not only investigate the complaints against Mr Bidhuri, but also some against Mr Ali.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP had been accused by some BJP MPs of using abusive words against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and "provoking" Mr Bidhuri to make the remarks.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha in the new Parliament building on September 21, Mr Bidhuri had used a string of objectionable and communal words against Mr Ali. The remarks sparked widespread condemnation and outrage, both from the Opposition and on social media, and defence minister Rajnath Singh had apologised in Parliament on behalf of his party MP.
The BSP MP and four opposition parties - the Congress, DMK, Trinamool Congress and NCP - had written to Speaker Om Birla, demanding immediate punitive action against Mr Bidhuri.
BJP MPs Nishikant Dubey and Ravi Kishan had also written to the Speaker later, and alleged that Mr Bidhuri had made objectionable remarks against PM Modi.
All of these complaints have now been referred to the Privileges Committee.
Claim, Counter Claim
In his letter to the Speaker, Nishikant Dubey had condemned the language used by Mr Bidhuri, but demanded that the "unsavoury" conduct of Mr Ali be investigated as well.
Mr Dubey alleged that when Mr Bidhuri was speaking, the BSP MP was "busy instigating" him and also - at the top of his voice - made a "highly objectionable and blasphemous remark" against PM Modi.
"This statement made by Danish Ali, I think, was more than enough for any patriotic public representative to 'lose his calm' and fall into his trap by uttering unsavoury words," Mr Dubey said.
Mr Ali had accused the BJP of trying to frame a false narrative and claimed he had said or done no such thing. "Today, some BJP leaders are trying to frame a narrative that I provoked Shri Ramesh Bidhuri in the Parliament, whereas the truth is that I worked to save the dignity of the post of Prime Minister. I demanded that the Chairman expunge the highly objectionable words used against Modiji from the record," he had said.
The BSP MP had also shared a video of what happened after Mr Bidhuri's outburst. In the video, a shaken Mr Ali can be heard saying, "Sir, sir... honourable member is saying 'terrorist'! To whom is he saying 'terrorist'? Are there terrorists in this House?"
A Jab At Opposition
The fact that the matter has been referred to the Privileges Committee was announced on Thursday by Mr Dubey, who thanked the Speaker for doing so. In the same breath, he also took a swipe at the opposition and said that earlier governments had failed to take action against errant MPs, including former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
"Grateful to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha @ombirlakota, he entrusted the responsibility of investigation in the Danish Ali case to the committee of @LokSabhaSectt. This was possible because BJP has a majority in the Lok Sabha, otherwise no committee was formed or action taken when, in the Lok Sabha, there was an RJD-JDU- Congress' shoe and mic fight in 2016, an assault by Sonia Gandhi in 2012 and a fistfight at time of the formation of Telangana in 2014, when MPs were injured," Mr Dubey posted on X, formerly Twitter.
Mr Dubey had earlier alleged Sonia Gandhi had "tried to grab the collar" of a Samajwadi Party member during chaos in the Parliament during a debate on quota in promotions in 2012.
'Reward For Hate'
The BJP, which had earlier issued a notice to Mr Bidhuri for his abusive remarks, on Wednesday gave him charge of leading the party's poll campaign in Rajasthan's Tonk district. The party is hoping that, being from the Gurjar community, he can help get votes in the district's four seats, one of which is held by former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot of the Congress.
While Independent MP Kapil Sibal lashed out at the BJP for rewarding hate, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra posted on X, "Knew it! @rameshbidhuri rewarded for calling Muslim MP ****** & ***** in Lok Sabha. How does showcaused person be given new role by @BJP4India? @narendramodi ji - is this your Sneha Yatra for minorities, your love outreach?"