M-DEAL IN HOUSE
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 22
BJP MPs Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bagora, led by Argal, alleged that they were offered the money by one Sanjiv Saxena or Shrivastava on behalf of the Samajwadi Party. An indignant BJP/NDA, holding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh responsible for this, sought his resignation right away.
The proceedings had to be suspended as BJP members followed by other NDA members rushed into the well, raising slogans against the government alleging that it had offered them cash bribes to abstain from voting to ensure the success of the confidence vote.
Around 3.30 pm while CPM leader Basudeb Acharia was speaking and Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal was presiding, the BJP members walked up to the table of the House with a black bag and poured out 10 bundles of currency notes of Rs 1,000 denomination.
The House was thrown out of gear, with members from the treasury and opposition benches rushing into the well and shouting down each other.
Most of what was being said was not audible. Despite repeated attempts by the watch and ward staff to restore order, members used their mobile phones to capture the wads of notes on their cell cameras.
The impact of the sudden production of currency notes on the table of the House was so dramatic that for a couple of minutes even important leaders and ministers did not know how to react. A shocked UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi sat flabbergasted as did the otherwise politically sharp Lalu Prasad.
Eventually Lalu Prasad recovered composure and could be seen gesticulating that the person concerned should be arrested.
In the meantime, the House was adjourned and the Speaker sought a meeting of leaders of political parties as Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani came rushing in and going directly to the Speaker’s chamber.In the meantime the drama shifted to the corridors of Parliament.
Outside, Advani alleged: “This is a black day for Indian Parliament. Never before this was witnessed in a confidence vote. We had complained of horse-trading, but we were asked to provide evidence.”
The BJP called this a sting operation claiming that SP general secretary Amar Singh on behalf of the government and the Congress, was offering its MPs inducements to abstain from the confidence vote.
Advani said: “ My three MPs informed me that they have been offered cash. Then we decided to present this amount on the table of the House. The members asked a TV channel to record everything. And everything is now on a CD.” “Now whether they win or lose the confidence vote, they have lost the larger battle already.”
BJP president Rajnath Singh spoke in the same vein. He said: “We have been alleging horse-trading for the last four days. Now it is for the Speaker to decide. We shall see what ruling the Speaker gives.”
The treasury benches rejected the incident as a “deliberate drama enacted by the BJP when they were certain to lose the vote of confidence.”
Lalu Prasad said: “Anyone who has taken bribe or offered bribe, should be punished. This is a serious matter and the highest inquiry should be held.”
He also alleged that his party MP Pappu Yadav was offered Rs 7 crore as bribe by BJP deputy leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra. Incidentally, Yadav repeated the allegation to the TV channels in Parliament House.
Science and Technology minister Kapil Sibal said: “Parliamentary democracy reached a nadir today. Never before something like this has happened in the House. Nothing can be brought into the House without the permission of the Speaker. So far, the police was barred from entering the House. But this will be the first time that police investigators will enter the precincts of the House to investigate the matter.”
Meanwhile, chief editor of CNN-IBN Rajdeep Sardesai submitted the CD of the operation to the Speaker to help in the investigations.
New Delhi: Railway Minister Lalu Prasad on Tuesday termed the allegation of offering crores of rupees to three BJP MPs as a "drama" staged by the saffron party. Narco-tests should be conducted on the three BJP MPs who levelled the allegations.