Harsh Vardhan said he couldn't hear clearly what was being said due to chaos in the Lok Sabha.
BJP MP Harsh Vardhan, seen grinning when his party colleague Ramesh Bidhuri was using communal remarks to abuse another member in the Lok Sabha, today defended himself saying he couldn't hear what was being said.
Mr Bidhuri, who represents South Delhi constituency in Lok Sabha, was seen repeatedly hurling abuses and Islamophobic slurs at Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)'s Danish Ali during a discussion on the "success of Chandrayaan", triggering a massive opposition outrage.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla warned Mr Bidhuri of "strict action" if he repeated such behaviour. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also expressed regret in the House shortly afterwards.
On being pointed out that he was seen grinning in the video during the Lok Sabha exchange, Mr Vardhan said "notorious and fabricated" stories were being used by some "vested political elements" to tarnish his image.
"I have seen my name trending on Twitter where people have dragged me into this unfortunate incident where two MPs were using unparliamentary language against each other on the floor of the House," said Mr Vardhan on X.
He said he couldn't hear clearly what was being said due to chaos in the Lok Sabha.
"I feel sad and humiliated that some people with vested interest have dragged my name into this. While I was no doubt witness to the jugglery of words being thrown at each other (which in fact the entire House was), the truth of the matter is that in the chaos that existed, I could not clearly hear what was being said," said the former Union minister.
Danish Ali, who was at the receiving end, has written to the Speaker stating that it was a "heartbreaking" incident for him as a minority member.
He later told reporters that this was the first time an elected MP had to face such threats and "hate speech" on record and that he couldn't sleep all night.
Opposition Congress said Rajnath Singh's apology was not enough and that Mr Bidhuri should be suspended or arrested.
"It's an absolute shame. Rajnath Singh's apology is not acceptable and half-hearted. This is an insult to parliament, this is a clear case of suspension and Bidhuri statement is an insult to every Indian," said Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, demanding "strictest possible action" against the BJP leader.