New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Thursday witnessed high drama when Azam Khan made certain objectionable remarks against the BJP's Rama Devi who was presiding over the proceedings, leading to an uproar and Union ministers pressing for an apology from the Samajwadi Party leader.
Participating in the debate on the Triple Talaq Bill in the House, Khan made certain observations on a ruling party member.
Rama Devi asked Khan to address the chair and not to look at other members. At this, the SP member made some objectionable remarks on the chair.
Rama Devi later directed that Khan's remark be removed from the records. She, however, said she is like his (Azam Khan's) younger sister.
Khan's remark infuriated union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Arjun Ram Meghwal as they urged the Chair to ask him to apologise.
When Khan was asked to do so by Rama Devi, he said he meant no disrespect to her as she was like his "dear sister".
During the Lok Sabha poll campaign, Khan, who is known to making controversial statements, had made objectionable remarks against actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada who contested on a BJP ticket. The police lodged an FIR against Khan for insulting the modesty of a woman.
SP chief Akhilesh Yadav rose to defend Khan. Meanwhile, Speaker Om Birla took over the proceedings. Yadav said there was no intention to malign the Chair, sparking protests by the BJP members. He then made a remark about the conduct of BJP members.
The Speaker took objection to the remark, reminding Yadav that he had been a chief minister and should be mindful of words which were unparliamentary. He also asked the SP chief, a former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, to apologise.
Yadav said the word he used was first used by the treasury benches. The Speaker asked him to point out the member who used the term and asked the SP leader to apologise.
Khan said he has spent a long time in politics and if he has used any unparliamentary language, he is ready to resign "immediately".
As the Speaker listened to both sides, the Bahujan Samaj Party’s Danish Ali walked out of the House, saying he was not allowed to speak. Khan joined him in the walkout, saying he cannot speak when he was being insulted. Later, members of the SP and BSP also walked out.
The Trinamool Congress’s Saugata Roy said what happened in Parliament now was not good.
Birla said maintaining the dignity of the House is the responsibility of all members.
"A party may have more numbers, but the House runs on consensus ... members want remarks to be expunged. But we should not make statements which have to be expunged. When people hear such statements, they form an opinion about MPs," he said.
BJP MPs protested against Ali's remark, saying he was making "personal allegations".
The National Commission For Women later slammed Khan for his "objectionable" remarks, with its chief Rekha Sharma calling from Khan's disqualification from Parliament.
"Azam Khan again did what he is good at... misbehaving and using inappropriate language for women and this time with none other than the woman sitting in the speaker's chair in parliament. I strongly condemn his disgraceful and sexist remark," she said in a tweet.
#AzamKhan again did what he is good at..misbehaving and using inappropriate language for women and this time with non other than woman sitting on speaker's chair in parliament. I strongly condemn his disgraceful and sexist remark. He must get disqualified from Parliament.— rekha sharma (@sharmarekha) July 25, 2019
Delhi Commission For Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal also hit out at Khan and said he should be sent to jail for his "lecherous comment".
"Shame on Azam Khan. Such lecherous comment against MP sitting on Speaker Chair. A man with such notorious reputation of vile speech against women has no right to be in Parliament. When will Centre create law to arrest such politicians? Send this man 2 mental asylum and then jail!" she tweeted.