Maurya says Speaker biased, but withdraws words as SP, BJP object

Leader of Opposition Swami Prasad Maurya on Thursday accused Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey of discrimination against his party, but had to withdraw his remarks when the ruling Samajwadi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party objected and the Speaker offered to step down.

The drama unfolded when the Speaker took up notices of adjournment motion. Maurya stood up and stated that he was being ignored by the Speaker while the BJP and Congress were being favoured. Probably the Speaker is under pressure from the ruling party, he said and alleged that notices given by his party members were never taken up on priority.

"This is happening when BSP is the main opposition party with 80 members," he added.

The Speaker then said: "I am deeply hurt by your remarks. I never discriminate between members on political affiliation. When the Leader of Opposition has stated such a thing, I don't think it will be possible for me to continue in this chair."

He also said that the notices are received in his office and listed in the order of their receiving time. "But, if any notice bears the signature of the Leader of Opposition, I make it a point to take it on priority," Pandey added.

The Speaker's comment drew instant reactions. While BJP members stood up and objected to Maurya's remarks, SP members demanded an apology from him. BJP's Hukum Singh said: "Anything said against the Speaker is an insult to the whole House. Such words should be expunged from the proceedings. We should respect the chair and the decision issued from the chair."

BSP members were taken aback by the backlash and remained silent.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Azam Khan said that anything said by the Leader of Opposition is important, but such comments are not justified. "It is strange that Maurya realised this after such a long time. He has forgotten the previous five years. I was in opposition and did not get even 10 minutes time for putting my views in whole five years," Khan said.

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