New Delhi: Amid a row over Ramesh Bidhuri’s derogatory remarks in the Lok Sabha against him, BSP MP Danish Ali on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make a public statement condemning Bidhuri’s behaviour and ensure “suitable punishment” to the BJP MP.
In a letter to the prime minister, Ali also demanded that he be provided enhanced security in view of an “escalation of threats” against him.
Bidhuri’s remarks targeting Ali during a discussion on the success of the Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission last week sparked a furore, with opposition leaders calling for stringent action against the BJP MP.
Addressing a press conference at his residence here after writing the letter to the prime minister, Ali said eight days have passed since the incident in the Lok Sabha but there is no sign of any action in the matter.
PM Modi’s silence ‘unfortunate’: Danish Ali
“He (PM Modi’s) has not broken his silence in the matter, which is unfortunate…He also held ‘Mann Ki Baat’ and the country was expecting that he would take cognizance of the incident. If the BJP member who has indulged in such an act is allowed to go scot-free, then nothing would be more insulting for the country, democracy and for the decorum of Parliament in future,” Ali said.
He said that it is the right time for Prime Minister Modi to come out and speak against this “hate” being spread in India.
“He is the PM and Leader of the House that is why we are appealing to him that such an example be set so that no MP in future can make such a hate speech in Parliament,” Ali said.
According to sources, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has referred the complaints lodged by several MPs on the issue involving BJP member Bidhuri’s use of objectionable words against BSP’s Ali to the Privileges Committee.
Danish Ali on matter being referred to the privileges committee
Asked if he has received any official communication regarding the matter being sent to the privileges committee, Ali said, “I have no information or communication on it. Even you (media) have no information. The media ran the news on the basis of sources. There is a new trend in the country that everything is as per sources and the media also does not ask what is the authenticity of the news.”
“A ruling party MP tweeted. He himself is making baseless allegations and on the basis of his tweet, the media has run the news. That news may be correct but I have no information. Why was this information given only to Nishikant Dubey, why aren’t others told, why isn’t the media informed. This also raises questions about secrecy in the office of the Speaker,” the BSP MP said.
Not attack on me but on democracy: Danish Ali to Modi
In his letter to the prime minister, Ali said the recent incident during the special session of Parliament was not just an attack on him as an individual but an attack on the “very essence of democracy”.
Expressing grave concern as a Member of Parliament over the “recent shameful events” that occurred on the floor of the House, the BSP leader called upon the prime minister, as the Leader of the House, to take note of the incident.
“As you must be aware, the situation has significantly worsened since September 21, 2023, and it has cast a shadow over the parliamentary decorum and democratic functioning of our esteemed House of which I am privileged to be a member,” Ali said in his letter which he released to the media.
“In your capacity as the Leader of the House and the Prime Minister of our great nation, I trust that you would find it deeply concerning that MP Ramesh Bidhuri resorted to using unparliamentary and abusive language,” Ali said.
Bidhuri used ‘inappropriate language’ against PM Modi: Danish Ali
Noting that Modi was not present in the House, Ali claimed that Bidhuri used “inappropriate language” when referring to the prime minister during his address.
“I raised an objection to the use of such language in relation to the Prime Minister, even if it was in a quotation. It is evident from the House proceedings that none of the members from the ruling party objected to my stance against the use of unparliamentary language directed at you,” Ali said.
“However, when I rose and pointed out Bidhuri’s use of unparliamentary language towards you, he got rattled and reacted strongly, possibly realising his mistake. He began making highly offensive attacks against me on the floor of the House to divert the attention of the House,” the BSP MP said.
Ali then pointed out some of the objectionable and derogatory words Bidhuri had used against him, saying that the BJP MP displayed a complete disregard for the high decorum of the House and verbally threatened him.
BJP making false claims against me: Danish Ali
“While the incident in question received condemnation from most House members, including some from the BJP, there has been a continuous effort to damage my reputation and perpetuate false claims since September 21. Despite the events on the floor of the House being evident to everyone, certain members have chosen to spread falsehoods about my behaviour,” he said.
They have “attributed statements to me that were never spoken by me” during any parliamentary session, he said.
Ali said that members like BJP MP Nishikant Dubey have even gone as far as to disseminate “absolute falsehoods” against him by asserting that he made certain remarks which provoked Bidhuri when it is clear that those remarks were made by the BJP lawmaker himself during his address.
Ali said he believes that as the Leader of the House in Lok Sabha, it is the PM’s responsibility to ensure free speech and well-being of all Members of Parliament, irrespective of political affiliations.
Danish Ali demands public statement from PM Modi
In his letter, Ali made a series of demands of the prime minister, including that he make a public statement from his office condemning such behaviour and reaffirming the commitment towards maintaining the highest standards of parliamentary proceedings.
“I urge you to remind all Members of Parliament of the importance of upholding the highest standards of decorum and conduct within the House as the whole world looks upon us as a torchbearer of parliamentary democracy. Such indecent incidents should have no place in our democracy,” Ali said.
He also demanded that accountability be fixed at the earliest on the “reprehensible conduct” of Bidhuri and the BJP MP be “suitably punished” so that no one can repeat such an act ever in the House.
“Given the escalation in threats, one given by Mr. Bidhuri on the floor of the House and subsequent barrage of threats coming from various sources, I implore you to strengthen the security arrangements around me. It is imperative that I, along with other parliamentarians, be able to discharge our duties without doubts for our safety,” Ali said.
Opposition parties have rallied around Ali and targeted the BJP on its MP’s remarks. Several members of the Congress, TMC and NCP among others have written to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla seeking the strictest action against Bidhuri.