Bhagwant Mann video row: BJP MPs forcefully adjourns RS

New Delhi: Ruling BJP members today forced an adjournment of Rajya Sabha till noon demanding action against Aam Aadmi Party’s Lok Sabha MP Bhagwant Mann for allegedly compromising security by videographing the Parliament complex and putting it on social media.

Admitting that the matter was very serious, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said the government has to take cognizance of the security violation and take appropriate legal action.

If members wanted a discussion on the issue, an appropriate resolution has to be brought, he said.

While criticising Mann, the Opposition Congress and CPI-M wanted to know what action the government has taken for the serious security breach and what stopped it from pressing in Lok Sabha, where the BJP has absolute majority, to take action against the member of that House.

Even as Kurien read out procedure of rule 267 under which adjournment of proceedings for taking up a discussion was sought, BJP members shouting slogans moved into the aisles, forcing him to adjourn the House till noon.

Earlier, soon after listed papers were laid and an obituary reference made, BJP and SAD members were up on their feet raising the issue. Naresh Gujral (SAD) said action must be taken against the AAP MP for his “trivial” behaviour. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi sought action under National Security Act against the member as he had exposed to terrorists the security apparatus inside the Parliament building complex.

Mann, by putting the video on security checks, positioning of security personnel and layout of Parliament House complex on social media sites, was helping terrorist succeed in their nefarious designs, Naqvi claimed.

Stating that security of parliament was of paramount importance, Kurien said “the government has to take cognisance of this security violation and take appropriate action.”

He went on to point out to the technicalities involved in that process, saying the MP in question was a member of the other House and Lok Sabha Speaker could alone take action against him.

Government, he said, should be seized of the security violation and take appropriate actions. “Government can take legal action (against the MP),” he said adding if the government wants a discussion a motion has to be moved.

When the House reassembled at noon, uproarious scenes were witnessed as members from both the opposition and treasury benches were seen raising slogans and speaking at the same time, as Chairman Hamid Ansari asked members to take up the Question Hour.

Seeking to raise the Mann issue, Union Minister and SAD leader Harsimrat Badal was heard saying security of the nation was more important, but Ansari did not permit her to speak.

As pandemonium continued and members continued to raise slogans and Ansari’s pleas to bring order in the House went unheard, he adjourned the House for half an hour.

“This is an issue of national security… it is a conspiracy,” Naqvi said, alleging that Mann has threatened to put security in jeopardy by stating that he would do it again.

Ambika Soni (Cong) said government of the day should have stood up and told what they have done since Mann violated the security and uploaded the video on social media.

As BJP members continued raising slogans, Kurien said he wanted to take a decision on the notice after listening to the views of members. “You cannot force me to take a decision in this way,” he said.

Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) expressed concern over security of the temple of democracy being compromised but wanted to know what action the government has taken on it.

He asked why the government had not acted so far since the video was uploaded on social media sites yesterday, suggesting that the Speaker of Lok Sabha, where the BJP has absolute majority, should take action against Mann.

“Why is delay since yesterday (in taking action). I am asking the government, why action has not been taken so far,” he said.

Naqvi responded that the government cannot suo motu take action unless the House recommends.

Partap Singh Bajwa (Cong) said security of Parliament was a non-partisan issue. The government, he said, should have arrested Mann and removed him from Lok Sabha membership.

Anand Sharma (Cong) said a joint committee under Lok Sabha Speaker was constituted after the 2001 Parliament attack and the current issue should also be referred to the same panel.

Sharad Yadav (JD-U) termed Mann’s action as “naadani” (folly or act done in ignorance), evoking sharp protests from treasury benches.

He said the breach has become an issue because there are elections in Punjab, from where Mann was elected to Lok Sabha in 2014.

Tapan Kumar Sen (CPI-M) said the House is one that action must be taken. “The government should take action.”

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal