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Uproar in RS over Arun Jaitley's clarification on Kumari Selja's Gujarat temple issue

Uproar in RS over Arun Jaitley
Highlights

Congress members on Wednesday forced three adjournments of the Rajya Sabha, protesting the statements of Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Piyush Goyal disputing the version of former Minister Kumari Selja that she was asked about her caste in a Gujarat temple.

Congress members on Wednesday forced three adjournments of the Rajya Sabha, protesting the statements of Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Piyush Goyal disputing the version of former Minister Kumari Selja that she was asked about her caste in a Gujarat temple.


The Congress members trooped into the Well raising slogans, forcing three adjournments - the first time for 10 minutes, then till noon and thereafter again till 2 PM, alleging that the government's statements disputing Selja's remarks were "misleading".

Selja had created a stir during the debate on commitment to the Constitution yesterday claiming that she was asked about her caste when she had visited a temple in Dwarka town of Gujarat as a Minister during UPA rule.

As soon as the House met and took up the Zero Hour today, Leader of the House Arun Jaitley referred to the issue and said that Selja had, in fact, said very "complimentary words" during her visit to the Dwarka temple in February 2013.

He said Selja had also written positive things about her experience at the temple and there was no complaint. He also read out Selja's written comments at the temple.

To this, Selja said she was not referring to the main Dwarka temple, but 'Bet Dwarka'. "Please don't try to mislead the House. That day, I had made it very clear that it was 'Bet Dwarka' and not the main Dwarka (temple). Please don't do this, Leader of the House. It doesn't behove."

Selja also said that she was very happy visiting the main temple where she was treated well and had "a very good 'darshan'".

Congress members were on their feet and so were some from the treasury benches, as Selja said the ministers should have "some grace".

As arguments ensued, Power Minister Piyush Goyal chipped in to say that Congress members were trying to create "manufactured problems" and "manufactured discrimination". His comment further agitated Congress members who, led by Selja, rushed to the Well.

As slogan shouting continued, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien tried to pacify the protestors. As his pleas went unheeded, he adjourned the House for 10 minutes.

When the House reassembled, there were similar scenes and Kurien again adjourned the proceedings till 12 noon.

When the House met at noon, Congress members again trooped into the Well raising slogans, as Chairman Hamid Ansari's pleas for order in the House to allow the Question Hour went unheeded.

"You have to grant us protection," Selja told the Chairman as she and other Congress members raised slogans - "Samvidhaan ka apmaan, band karo, band karo" (Stop insulting the Constitution).

Amid the uproar, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi again read out Selja's written statement at the main Dwarka temple earlier, complimenting the authorities there for arrangements. But it was inaudible in the din.

As the uproar continued, Ansari adjourned the House till 2 pm.
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