Rajnath calls Congress a leaky boat, provokes walkout

Rajnath calls Congress a leaky boat, provokes walkout 

New Delhi, July 19 (IANS) Angry Congress members, led by floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge, on Tuesday staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha taking strong exception to Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s remark that the Congress had turned into a leaky boat and that its sinking was inevitable.

Singh compared the situation of the Congress party with a boat with a hole, saying: “Jis nao mein ched hae…uska dubna taye hae (A boat with a hole is bound to sink).”

The Home Minister’s remark came even as the Lok Sabha witnessed uproarious scenes when Kharge accused the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance of trying to “destabilise” Congress-led governments in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh.

Congress members Jyotiraditya Scindia, K.C. Venugopal and Sushmita Dev among others raised anti-government slogans while Kharge was seen waving a paper towards the treasury benches possibly trying to drive home the point that the Supreme Court had itself blasted the Centre over the imposition of President’s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh.

The Congress members also raised slogans: “Pradhan mantri jawab do (Prime Minister please answer)”.

Responding to Kharge earlier, Rajnath Singh said the political developments in both the states were due to the “internal crisis” within the Congress party.

Raising the issue during zero hour in the context of the Supreme Court judgement, Kharge alleged that destabilising non-BJP governments has become “a habit” with the Narendra Modi government and added that the apex court’s order should be a “lesson” for them.

Amid protests from a number of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs, including Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar who said some of the comments made by Kharge should be expunged, the Congress leader also alleged that like in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party had tried to topple the Congress governments in Himachal Pradesh and Manipur.

The Home Minister denied the allegations.

“Instead of making allegations against us, they should know, since Independence if any party is singularly responsible for toppling opposition parties in the states, it is the Congress. Since Independence they (Congress party) have toppled state governments and imposed President’s Rule as many as 105 times,” Rajnath Singh claimed.

Rajnath said “whatever happened in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Prdesh was unfortunate” and that such developments were not good for a “healthy democracy”.

He, however, asserted that whatever happened in these two states was all due to the “internal crisis” within the Congress party.

“We had nothing to do with that,” he said and maintained that the crisis in Uttarakhand was sparked off only after nine Congress legislators stood up in the assembly and said they opposed their own government.

Similarly, he said as many as two-thirds of Congress legislators had quit the parent party and formed a separate group to form a new government in Arunachal.

Comparing the Congress to a leaky boat, Singh that “it is pointless to blame the water for the capsizing of such a boat.”

Congress members Scindia and Kharge had also given a notice seeking adjournment of the house proceedings to discuss the situation related to Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh.

The plea was, however, rejected by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, who said the members can raise the issue during zero hour.

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