Sumitra Mahajan said that the BJP leaders had never made any direct allegation at Jyotiraditya Scindia
New Delhi: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan today took some moments in parliament to clarify that a controversy involving Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia - in which he has demanded a public apology from two BJP parliamentarians - was the result of a mistake by her office. Mr Scindia, a Congress MP from Madhya Pradesh, has accused the BJP's Virender Kumar and Manohar Utwal of defamation over the allegation that a hospital building was "purified" with holy water from the river Ganga before his visit.
The BJP had alleged that earlier this week, a hospital building was "washed with Gangajal (holy Ganga water)" before Mr Scindia visited it to inaugurate a new trauma centre, because a Dalit BJP leader had visited it the previous day.
"I respect Mr Scindia, his grandmother (Vijayaraje Scindia) and father (Madhavrao Scindia) were also very respected members of parliament," Ms Mahajan said, sounding emotional.
"I checked the records and the uncorrected statement of Virender Kumar, he spoke about Mr Scindia's parliamentary representative, not about him. But my office forgot to delete certain references that caused Scindia to be upset," Ms Mahajan said.
Mr Scindia had said if the BJP MPs couldn't prove their allegations, "they should resign from parliament." He also moved a privilege motion against the lawmakers and served legal notice to the BJP's Madhya Pradesh chief.
The BJP leaders had based the allegation on local Congress leader Amit Tawre's comment that the hospital trauma centre would be "purified" before Jyotiraditya Scindia, who belongs to the former royal family of Gwalior, visited.
Mr Tawre has since been thrown out of the Congress.
"I have nothing to do with the statement of the Congress worker nor did the purported washing of the site with Gangajal ever happen. The BJP's rhetoric is a heinous attempt to malign my reputation and dignity in the House as well as with millions of people who watch Lok Sabha on television," Mr Scindia wrote in a letter to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, adding, "Reputations take years to build but can be destroyed in seconds."
BJP workers have held protests against Mr Scindia and called him "anti-Dalit."