New Delhi: Breaking his silence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today "strongly disapproved" of Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti's controversial remarks, saying such language should be avoided.
With Opposition stalling proceedings in Rajya Sabha for past three days demanding sacking of the minister, Modi appealed to members to allow the House to function in national interest as she has already apologised.
"I was informed about the statement which caused the controversy on the day BJP Parliamentary Party was to meet. In the meeting I strongly disapproved of the remarks and I said we should avoid using such language," he said.
In election heat, he said, leaders should avoid using such language. Modi said after the minister's apology the matter should rest and the House resume in normal functioning. The Prime Minister said Jyoti is a first time minister and a new member of Parliament and the House should show magnanimity by accepting her apology considering this.
"When the Minister has apologised, I appeal and request the House (to resume normal business)... In national interest, we must carry forward work (of the House)," he said, adding members should maintain decorum.
Modi said he shared the view that after the minister's apology, the matter should be considered closed.
Modi came to the House when it reassembled after a 15-minute adjournment forced by the opposition members demanding resignation of the minister.
As soon as the House met for the day, the entire opposition was on its feet to press for the demand. As Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked ministers to lay the listed papers, slogan shouting Congress members trooped into the Well.
The slogan shouting continued even after he took up Zero Hour mentions. With members unrelenting, he adjourned the House for 15 minutes. When the House reassembled, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the Prime Minister wants to make a statement and he be allowed to do so.
After Modi's statement, Anand Sharma (Cong) said the Prime Minister should take strong action against the minister as the Constitution does not permit such utterances. Finance Minister and Leader of House Arun Jaitley said the Opposition had been demanding that the Prime Minister come to the House and make a statement. Now that Modi has made the statement, the House should get on to its business, he said. Sitaram Yechuri (CPI-M) said the minister had not apologised and had merely expressed regret.
"Assuming that she has apologised... you apologise only when you have done some wrong," he said, demanding action against the minister. As opposition members refused to resume their seats and treasury benches objected to the repeated disruptions even after Prime Minister's statement, Kurien said members were yesterday complaining that their Zero Hour concerns could not be taken up due to disruptions.
"You are losing Zero Hour. Don't blame me," he said. Kurien said the issue has been under discussion for three days and no further discussion can be allowed. "You cannot have discussion on the same subject every day," he said. When Tiruchi Siva (DMK) asked as to why the Chair was depriving opportunity to one side to speak, Kurien shot back saying, "Don't cast aspersions on the Chair... You are depriving right of 15 members (who gave Zero Hour notice)."
Kurien said he has allowed Sharad Yadav (JD-U) to speak as he is a senior member and after his statement Zero Hour will be taken up. Yadav (JD-U) said this is not the first time that such a statement has been made and there have been several such statements to vitiate communal atmosphere.
As pandemonium continued, Kurien adjourned the House till noon.Similar scenes were witnessed again during the Question Hour and the House was adjourned twice.
As Chairman Hamid Ansari took up the first listed question, Leader of the Opposition Anand Sharma requested him to allow members to "speak their mind" which was objected by members of the treasury bench.
When Ansari did not allow them, Congress, SP and JD-U members trooped into the Well leading to a brief adjournment. Ansari criticised their action as "utterly disgraceful". Scenes did not change when the House reassembled as protests from the opposition resumed. When the opposition members rushed into the Well once again Ansari observed, "This is a very sad state of affairs." He then adjourned the House till 2 PM.