By Pankaj Yadav, New Delhi: In what is being described as the first instance in the parliamentary history of the country, the Lok Sabha today passed a resolution admonishing former secretary general Subash Kashyap for “gross breach of privilege” and “contempt of the House” for his “reckless” remarks against Speaker Somnath Chatterjee.
But, over the past few days speculations have been rife in the corridors of power that the BJP was mulling over giving a Rajya Sabha berth to the “RSS man” Kashyap. Though, the party is keeping an “official secrecy” about the move saying – “where is the vacancy at present”.
A reliable source in the BJP’s media cell also said (on the condition of anonymity) that in near future Kashyap might be elected to the Upper House by the BJP “because of his closeness with RSS quarters”.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi also made a passing remark today regarding this while addressing the customary press conference at the end of the Budget Session. He said, “one can understand the motive behind creating the ruckus by the BJP inside the Lok Sabha over the Subhuas Kashyap admonition issue…because he is a RSS man.”
In a related development, the BJP today resolved to consult other parties and evolve a consensus regarding bringing a no-confidence motion against the Speaker, Somanth Chatterjee “because of his biased attitude” in his functioning. The idea was mooted in the BJP parliamentary party held this morning inside the Parliament House, said the party spokesman VK Malhotra.
Isolated BJP turns heat on speaker
Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006
New Delhi – The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday said it would bring a no-confidence motion against Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee for his ‘questionable role’ in action being taken against a former official even as its four members resigned from the privileged committee of the house.
Amid shouting and hooting from the BJP members, the Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die after passing a motion admonishing former secretary general Subhash C. Kashyap for his ‘grave misconduct’ for ‘imputing motives to the speaker’ in a decision to disallow Trinamool Congress MP Mamta Banerjee from raising an issue.
The BJP members, who disrupted the proceedings Tuesday leading to repeated adjournments, alleged that the ruling party had ‘tampered with the report of the privileges committee’ to bring the censure motion against Kashyap.
The BJP, completely isolated in the house as none of its allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) joined it in protest, said it was contemplating a no-confidence motion against Chatterjee.
‘Several MPs questioned the role of the speaker (at a party meeting in the morning). They were very upset about the manner in which the former secretary general is sought to be admonished without any notice or reference in the Business Advisory Committee,’ V.K. Malhotra, deputy leader of the BJP in the Lok Sabha, told reporters.
‘This is a black day for democracy,’ alleged Malhotra.
He said four party members in the privileges committee – Kishan Singh Sangwan, Rajendrasinh Rana, Ananth Kumar Hegde and Virendra Kumar – have resigned protesting the move.
Although the BJP created mayhem inside the house in its attempt to stop the government from bringing the censure motion, the government appeared to be equally determined to pass it on the last day of the Budget session.
Amid loud protests and slogans by the BJP members, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee moved the motion and the Congress and supporting allies vociferously supported it.
‘This is an important issue. This has never happened before. A person, who is well aware of the rules and regulations of the house, made this mistake. We do not have any option,’ Mukherjee said.
In its report presented Friday, the Lok Sabha Privileges Committee recommended to the house to condemn Kashyap – who is believed to be close to the BJP and its ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – for casting aspersions against Chatterjee during a TV interview in August last year.
Referring to an incident in which Banerjee was not permitted to raise an adjournment motion, the committee said Kashyap had alleged that Chatterjee’s rejection of her motion included a ‘personal aspect’ because she had defeated him in her first election from West Bengal.
Political sources said a ‘hurt’ Chatterjee had expressed his willingness to resign during a meeting with party leaders in his chamber after the first adjournment. However, the non-BJP leaders succeeded in persuading him not to take any ‘drastic’ step.
Ironically, BJP MP Kishan Singh Sangwan signed the recommendations of the privilege committee.
While the four BJP MPs in the privileges committee demanded the withdrawal of the report, the other members said the recommendation of the committee was ‘unanimous’.
‘After signing the recommendation taken in the meeting, how can the BJP leadership claim that the members did not know what the report meant? This is ridiculous,’ Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Roopchand Pal said.
Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta said he had spoken with Malhotra about the motion Monday. ‘I told him that the members wanted to summon Kashyap to admonish him. Malhotra said there was no need for that but the house could condemn his remarks against the speaker.
‘The role of the BJP dictating parliament is unacceptable,’ Dasgupta said. Reacting to the BJP’s threat of bringing a no-confidence motion against the speaker, Dasgupta said: ‘Let them bring it. We will defeat it.’
Obviously buoyed by the support the main opposition has extended, Kashyap said in a television interview Tuesday that he did not regret his remarks and he would continue to ’stand by whatever he said’ about the speaker.
Left flays BJP on Kashyap issue
NEW DELHI, MAY 23 (PTI)
Attacking the BJP on former Lok Sabha Secretary General Subhash Kashyap issue, Left parties today said the main objective of the saffron party was to "destroy" democracy and protect a "RSS card holder".
"The BJP's one-point agenda is to protect the former Secretary General of the Lok Sabha for his derogatory remarks against the Speaker and questioning the impartiality of the House," the Left leaders told a hurriedly called press conference here.
Basudev Acharya (CPI-M), Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) and Subrata Bose (Forward Bloc) accused the main opposition party of disrupting the House on the last day of the Budget session with a heavy agenda.
Deploring the action, they said the BJP leaders in the Privilege Committee after having duly signed the resolution to reprimand Kashyap had changed their minds within 24 hours on the "dictates of the RSS. Besides, the Privilege Committee gave a unanimous recommendation on the issue".
On the BJP's demand that Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee should return the Report to the Privilege Committee as a certain party member did not understand the contents of the resolution when he signed it, they said "how can a member now demand it. It has become a House property".
Stating that BJP's behaviour in the House was not acceptable, the Left leaders also urged the Congress to be more vigilant in the next session.
rmined glory of Parliament: Cong
NEW DELHI, MAY 23 (PTI)
As the Lok Sabha concluded on a bitter note on the Subhas Kashyap issue, Government and Congress today launched a scathing attack on the BJP accusing the main opposition party of bringing a "new low" in the history of Parliament by targeting Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and using abusive languge against him.
"It was ugly demonstration of the deep-rooted frustration within the BJP on three counts — the Rath Yatra turning a big flop, election outcome in various states and the recent crisis in Jharkhand", Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi told reporters.
Addressing the end of the session press conference, he had a dig at the saffron party for taking up cudgels on behalf of Kashyap, a former Secretary General of Lok Sabha, as if he was the "successor" in the party.
"By this act (targeting the Speaker and using abusing language against him), the BJP has undermined the institution and glory of Parliament in all possible manner as also importance of Constitution and dignity of the role of opposition", he said.
Similar views were expressed by Congress spokesman Rajeev Shukla, who also addressed the press conference.
Replying to a question, Dasmunsi said the government did not insist on calling Kashyap to the bar of the House for the admonition following a plea by BJP Deputy Leader V K Malhotra that Kashyap should not be summoned and he should only be "condemned." "The problem with Malhotra is that whatever proposals he comes up with, he goes back on them. I have nothing but sympathy for him", he remarked.
Dasmunsi said "what was most lamentable was the fact that aspersions were cast against the Speaker in the presence of Leader of Opposition L K Advani".
The minister sought to make mince meat of the arguments of the saffron party over the motion against Kashyap and the report of the Privileges Committee against the former Secretary General.
He said the BJP demand for re-visiting and re-examining the report could not be conceded as it had never happened. Once a report is placed, it is the property of the House which draws its conclusion, he said.
"If the opposition was so keen to bring an amendment or debate, they are free to do so. They cannot bulldoze," he said.
Dasmunsi said that 13 out of the total of 54 hours in the Lok Sabha and seven out of 45 hours in the Rajya Sabha were lost in the second part of the session due to disruptions by the opposition.
The Government could have passed five more legislations today had the House not been disturbed.
Kashyap says he has no regrets for his statement
NEW DELHI, MAY 23 (PTI)
An unfazed former Lok Sabha Secretary General Subhash C Kashyap, who received an unprecedented admonition from Lok Sabha for his remarks against the Speaker, today said he stood by every word of what he had said in the offending interview and has no regrets about it.
"I have no regrets for what I said. I stand by every word of it," he said after Lok Sabha admonished him for "gross breach of privilege" and "contempt of the House" for his "reckless" remarks against the Speaker.
Asked about the censure motion, Kashyap said "it is a small punishment for speaking the truth. I will continue to speak the truth." He said he had only referred to a "historical truth" and not cast aspersion on the Presiding Officer.
"I did not cast aspersion on the Speaker but mentioned a historical truth that Mamta Banerjee had defeated Chatterjee when she first contested the Lok Sabha polls," he told said.
Kashyap said he had used his fundamental right of mentioning a historical truth.
He said Parliament had not bothered to inform him either about the Privileges Committee Report or his admonishment in Lok Sabha.
"This shows the way it functions," Kashyap said.
"Whatever I have heard is from the media, there has been no communication to me from Parliament about the action against me," he said.