New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today told Parliament that he has "criticised in the strongest terms" the language used by union minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti in an election speech in Delhi. His comments and appeal to the opposition to get to work failed.
"She has apologised and the House should gracefully accept that and continue its work in national interest," Mr Modi said this morning in the Rajya Sabha or Upper House, which has not functioned since Monday with the opposition demanding the minister be removed for her hate speech.
In the Lok Sabha or Lower House, a united opposition walked out just before lunch. "We wanted the PM to clarify what he thinks of the minister's statement," said Mallikarjun Kharge of the Congress.
After repeated protests by the opposition forced several adjournments, Vice President Hamid Ansari, who is the Chairman of the House, described the opposition's behaviour as "disgraceful."
The Left's Sitaram Yechury, a member of the Rajya Sabha, said, "An apology means admission of guilt, and in this case the Constitution has been violated. How can she remain a minister? Niranjan Jyoti must resign."
On Tuesday, Ms Jyoti, who is 47, apologised to lawmakers on Tuesday for her Sunday speech in which she said, "The people of Delhi have to decide if they want a government of Ramzaadon (descendants of Ram) or haramzaadon (those who are illegitimately born)."
Yesterday, opposition leaders chanted "Modi jawab doh (Modi, please explain)" but did not succeed in eliciting a response from the PM. Instead, senior minister Venkaiah Naidu said, "There is no question of the minister resigning."