Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan
Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan
ANI photo

New Delhi: Samajwadi Party leader Mohammad Azam Khan on Thursday stoked a controversy in the Lok Sabha with his objectionable remarks against BJP member Rama Devi, who was presiding over the House as BJP members sought an apology from him.

Azam Khan did not apologise and said he will resign if he had said anything unparliamentary. He also staged a walkout along with his party chief Akhilesh Yadav, who defended his remarks.

The uproar began soon after Azam Khan started his speech on the triple talaq bill and sought to take a dig at remarks made by union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. Rama Devi asked him to speak looking at the Chair and address the House through the presiding officer.

Azam Khan made remarks that were perceived to be sexist by the treasury benches and they strongly objected, Khan said she was very respected and was like a sister to her.

BJP members said that the remarks hurt the dignity of the Chair and he should tender an apology. They urged the Chair to expunge his remarks to which Rama Devi agreed.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said he had not heard such remarks about the chair in his long parliamentary experience and remarks were about a woman member who was presiding over the House. "The minimum is that he should apologise," he said.

Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy alleged that BJP members had interrupted speeches of two Muslim MPs--Danish Ali and Azam Khan.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Meghwal said that there were some interruptions over Danish Ali's remarks but Azam Khan's remarks reflected an attitude which was not right. He also sought an apology from Khan.

As the uproar continued, Speaker Om Birla came to the House. Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy urged him to look at the proceedings and then give a ruling.

However, Birla said that the House will not be adjourned. "History will be created, the House is not going to be adjourned," he said. Yadav, who was sitting next to Azam Khan, stood in his defence and said there was nothing in his words which showed he was intending to point fingers at the chair.

Yadav used a word against the BJP member to which the Speaker objected and said it was not only unparliamentary but also against the norms of parliamentary democracy.

"Tender an apology for the word," the Speaker told Yadav. He also said that he would also check whetjer members of treasury benches spoke any unparliamentary words.

"The entire country looks at the proceedings. My effort is to sit in the House for maximum hours," he said. He also told the protesting BJP members that they may be more in numbers but the House runs on consensus.

Birla said if wrong words have been used, regret should be expressed. Azam Khan said that he had referred to Rama Devi as his sister and has never spoken anything hurtful in his legislative innings.

"If I have said any unparliamentary word, I declare my resignation now," he said. Azam Khan and Yadav then walked out of the House as BSP member Danish Ali also followed suit saying that they had not been allowed to speak (by BJP members).

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