Janata Dal (United) chief Rajeev Ranjan aka Lalan Singh has strongly objected to his party colleague and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh's attacks on Congress MP Rahul Gandhi over the Congress leader's criticism of the Indian parliament's functioning during a speech in the UK's House of Commons on Tuesday.
Mr Ranjan alleged some people may have forced his Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), colleague to say something against Mr Gandhi over the speech the Congress leader gave abroad, which drew severe criticism from the ruling BJP as "lies". The BJP and JD(U) were allies in Bihar earlier.
"Harivansh is the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman. He should know whatever happens in Lok Sabha is not brought up in Rajya Sabha. The opposite is also true. But you see the fight between the centre and the Congress these days, somebody must have put pressure on Harivansh to say something, so he said it," Mr Ranjan said.
"But we don't understand why the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman had to bring in a Lok Sabha matter? It is totally inappropriate," Mr Rajan said, referring to what Mr Gandhi had said about the Lok Sabha's functioning in his House of Commons speech.
At an event organised by Indian-origin Labour Party MP Virendra Sharma, the Congress leader used a faulty microphone in the room to make his point about what he described as a "stifling" opposition debate in India.
"Our mikes are not out of order, they are functioning, but you still can't switch them on. That's happened to me a number of times while I am speaking," the 52-year-old Wayanad MP told the gathering, in response to a question about sharing his experience of being a politician in India.
Denying Mr Gandhi's claim, the JD(U) leader termed the comments "absolutely false and baseless."
"I'd like to say it's absolutely false and baseless. Nothing can be more false than this. I have been in parliament for the past nine years and not once have I heard anything like that from anyone," Harivansh told news agency ANI.
The BJP has accused Mr Gandhi of maligning India on foreign soil. It told the Congress not to "betray the nation".
During the UK meeting, Indian-origin peer Lord Navnit Dholakia asked Mr Gandhi about the Congress's record, to which the former Congress chief blamed a "propaganda machine" that does not reflect a "strong undercurrent" against the government.