Rajya Sabha chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu has forwarded a privilege notice against Congress president Rahul Gandhi to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for consideration. This was after the BJP on Thursday moved a privilege motion in the Rajya Sabha against Gandhi for “mocking” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley by “twisting” his name to JetLie.
BJP member Bhupendra Yadav had moved the motion under Rule 187, against Gandhi and urged the Chair to take notice of the alleged breach of Jaitley’s privilege, who is also the Leader of the House.
“The members of this House have dignity. The name of Leader of the House Arun Jaitley has been intentionally published by the Congress President with malafide intentions to defame this House,” Yadav told the Chair.
“The way his (Jaitley’s) name has been twisted by the Congress President on his Twitter handle, it comes in the category of (breach of) privilege. There are precedents such as that of NC Chatterjee in 1954. I request you to go to this precedent and issue notice to Rahul Gandhi,” he was quoted by PTI.
Hitting back at the ruling party, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma cited Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh and Vice President Hamid Ansari during the Gujarat assembly elections.
He told reporters, “If it comes to privilege, ministers in the government have made many such comments which will attract privilege notices. The Prime Minister made inappropriate remarks against people who held constitutional posts. Later, Finance Minister said the Prime Minister did not mean what he said. If political comments and tweets have to become privilege matters, then the ruling party stands exposed and shall invite many breach of privilege notices.”
Referring to a statement given by Jaitley in the House, Rahul Gandhi had tweeted: “Dear Mr Jaitlie (sic)- thank you for reminding India that our PM never means what he says or says what he means.”
Gandhi had changed the finance minister’s surname to imply that the latter was a habitual liar. He or his team had never commented on whether it was a deliberate attempt or an oversight as a result of a typo.
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) December 27, 2017
The finance minister has often been lampooned on social media with names such as ‘jhootley.’ But this is the first a political leader no less than the Congress President has indirectly accused the finance minister of lying.
Addressing a rally in Gujarat, Modi had said, “There were media reports yesterday about a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house. It was attended by Pakistan’s high commissioner, Pakistan’s former foreign minister, India’s former vice president and former prime minister Manmohan Singh.”