ChopperGate: Swamy sharpens attack on Congress in Rajya Sabha
New Delhi: Rajya Sabha ruckus dragged on Friday as Bharatiya Janata Party's fiery leader Subramanian Swamy filed a notice challenging the expunging of his naming Congress president Sonia Gandhi and gave a notice for moving Breach of Privilege Motion against Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad over his remarks related to the AgustaWestland issue.
"I have also filed a Notice in RS challenging the expunging of my words by Deputy Chairman since it is arbitrary unreasonable and against RS Rules," Swamy tweeted early morning, setting the tone of BJP for the day.
On Wednesday, Swamy stirred a storm in the Parliament by naming Sonia in connection to the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland helicopter scandal, which triggered protests from Congress and prompted the Speaker to expunge his statement.
On Thursday, Swamy again made some controversial remarks in Rajya Sabha on Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) with reference to the Constitution of another country that triggered vociferous protests from Congress members.
Rajya Sabha speaker PJ Kurien immediately expunged and warned him of action for "unnecessarily provoking" members on the other side. "I will take action against you. Subramanian Swamy you are unnecessarily provoking. I will have to take action against you... you are provoking," Kurien said.
Rajya Sabha was disrupted after Samajwadi Party's Chaudhary Munavver Saleem referred to Swamy being part of the movement in 1970s to protect the minority status of AMU. Swamy got up to clarify saying he had no objection to minority education institutions but the Constitution prohibits the State from financing them.
He was countered on this by the opposition to which he responded by dragging the name of another country, a reference that led to agitated Congress members rushing into the Well.
Kurien said he was expunging the reference to the Constitution of another country but that did not satisfy the Congress members who continued to shout slogans against Swamy.
The BJP MP, who took oath only on Monday, insisted that since his name has been taken by another member, he has a right to reply and again went on to refer to the country, drawing sharp rebuke from the Chair.
BREACH OF PRIVILEGE MOTION
On Friday, Swamy gave notice in Rajya Sabha for moving Breach of Privilege Motion against Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad over his remarks related to the AgustaWestland issue.
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien told Swamy, who took oath as a Nominated member on Tuesday last, "if you have given a privilege notice, there is a rule". The notice will be first examined by Chairman Hamid Ansari and if he finds a prima facie case, then the notice will be referred to the Privileges Committee, Kurien said.
On April 27, Azad had said in the House that the UPA government had "blacklisted" AgustaWestland company. "So, I would like to ask this question from the Government. A company, AugustaWestland company, which was blacklisted by the UPA Government, why did Modi Government allow this blacklisted company to take part in 'Make in India'?," Azad had said.
After laying of papers during the Zero Hour today, Jairam Ramesh (Congress) said he has given a notice for a discussion on the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) scam in Gujarat.
Swamy also sought a discussion in Rajya Sabha over reports that money was allegedly paid to middlemen for managing the Indian media to produce favourable news on the AgustaWestland deal.
During the Zero Hour, the nominated member said the Parliamentary Standing Committee in its 47th report laid on May 7, 2013 had dealt with the issue of 'paid news'.
"Now the paid news has acquired the character of a cancer in our democracy. Recently in the AgustaWestland deal also.
Perhaps one of the news channels had published a contract, which was signed between the middlemen and the company for managing the Indian media to produce favourable reports on the deal," he alleged.
"I am rising here to request the House, through you (Deputy Chairman P J Kurien), that this is an important matter that should be discussed in short duration in the House," he said.
On Thursday, BJP raised the AgustaWestland chopper deal issue in Lok Sabha, expressing concern over the reported misuse of media by the Italian company which had earmarked Rs 50 crore for the purpose to clinch the VVIP chopper deal.
Meenakshi Lekhi had suggested that middleman Christian Michel had been given the amount to 'manage' the media.
Reports had it that Christian Michel, a British businessman and an alleged middleman in the deal, was paid millions of dollars by AgustaWestland.
Interpol had issued a red corner notice against Michel on India's request in December 2015. (With inputs from PTI)