BSP stalls House proceedings over remark on Ambedkar

A remark on B R Ambedkar by Minister of State for Rural Engineering Rajinder Singh Rana plunged the Legislartive Assembly in turmoil on Thursday, with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) members stalling the proceedings, demanding that the minister tender an apology.

Shouting slogans of "Baba Sahab ka apman, nahin sahega Hindustan", the BSP members moved into the well and staged a dharna, although Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey expunged the minister's remark.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Niranjan Jyoti, a Dalit, tried to motivate her party members also to lodge a protest, but none of them listened to her. The Congress members too did not join the protest. Failing to pacify the BSP members, the Speaker rushed through the day's business and adjourned the House until Monday.

Trouble erupted during the debate on the budget when Rana, apparently provoked by interruptions from the BSP, started making comments on BSP members. The treasury benches seemed to be enjoying his outburst. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Khan were seen laughing.

As his party members thumped desks after his every statement, the minister made the remark on Ambedkar, and added: "Ambedkar has been made private property by the BSP, nobody can even talk about him and take his name."

Immediately, Babban Singh and Keshav Ram of the BSP stood up and objected. The Speaker assured that any objectionable remark will be removed from the record.

But the BSP members insisted on an apology from the minister and, shouting slogans, moved into the well. The Speaker adjourned the house for five minutes which was later extended to half an hour. He held a meeting with Leader of Opposition Swami Prasad Maurya, but the BSP did not relent.

When the House reassembled, the Speaker appealed to the members to co-operate in the smooth conduct of the House. Maurya replied: "I am cooperating, but the minister should tender an apology."

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