Stepping up the BJP's offensive against Rahul Gandhi, Union Minister Piyush Goyal today said Parliament cannot sit and watch as a member goes abroad and talks against the democracy of India.
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Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned soon after they met as the heated exchange between the BJP and Congress over Mr Gandhi's remarks continued for the second day.
The Wayanad MP is drawing fire from the BJP over his remarks at a London event, in which he said India's institutions are under attack and a large chunk of Indian democracy had "come undone".
The BJP has demanded an apology from Mr Gandhi and said MPs from all parties must condemn his remarks. The Congress, however, has trashed the ruling party's allegations and said "those crushing democracy are talking of saving it".
This morning, a battery of top ministers attended a meeting in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office to fine-tune the ruling party's strategy in Parliament. Union ministers Pralhad Joshi, Anurag Thakur, Piyush Goyal, Nitin Gadkari and Kiren Rijiju attended the meeting.
"We cannot sit quiet and watch everything. A member of the House goes to foreign country and talks against the democracy of India. I am shocked that some parties are also backing him. I appeal to all parties to criticise how a senior MP tried to defame Parliament on foreign land," Mr Goyal said in Rajya Sabha amid protest by Congress members.
Joining the ruling party's all-out attack against Mr Gandhi, Union Minister Anurag Thakur raked up the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. "He is saying minorities are under attack. What happened in 1984 when thousands of Sikhs were killed? Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have protected those responsible," he alleged.
Congress' Shaktisinh Gohil has filed a breach of privilege notice against Mr Goyal, Leader of the House. "Mr Goyal criticised a Member of the Lok Sabha without truth and was intentionally going on with derogatory remarks," Mr Gohil said in his notice.
The Congress member cited examples when the chair had ruled that no member can make allegations against a member of another House. "No opposition member has ever raised an issue regarding critical remarks made by honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi on foreign soil," the Congress MP said.
Congress' Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha, Manickam Tagore, has said there is no question of an apology. "The question does not arise. He said nothing wrong. Those from RSS apologise, those from the Congress don't. He has rightly said that the voice of people is being suppressed," he told NDTV.
In a Twitter post, Mr Tagore put up remarks made by the Prime Minister overseas and said he must apologise for insulting India abroad. "Yes Prime minister Narendra ji must apologise, he insulted India aboard. Like Savarkar he can, he will," the Congress leader wrote.