Angry exchanges between opposition Congress and ruling BJP members over Subramanian Swamy seeking to drag Sonia Gandhi’s name in the controversial AgustaWestland helicopter contract bribery case led to two adjournments of the Rajya Sabha in the pre-noon session. However, Gandhi’s name was later expunged by Deputy Chairman P J Kurien.
Swamy had raised the issue through an adjournment notice under Rule 267, his first intervention since he took oath in the House yesterday, and referred to the allegations made by Christian Micheal, the middleman in the scandal, through a letter in the High Court of Italy.The naming of Gandhi led the Congress members to angrily storm into the Well, with a handful even moving closer to the treasury benches menacingly. Members of the treasury benches too got up on their seats to counter the opposition.
Fearing an ugly showdown, a couple of marshalls too stepped into the Well to act as a wall between the opposition and the ruling side. Before things got out of hand, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien adjourned the House for 10 minutes.
When the House reassembled, Kurien expunged Swamy’s reference to Gandhi saying he should not name a member who cannot come and defend himself or herself.
“I am not admonishing you as this is your first speech in the House” after being nominated to the Upper House. “But the name is expunged,” Kurien said. This did not satisfy the Congress members who were in the Well again shouting slogans against Swamy.
Kurien said though it was Swamy’s first day today after being nominated to the Rajya Sabha, “you have been member of this House before and you should know that the name of a member of the other House cannot be taken here”.
As Congress members continued to raise slogans from the Well, the Deputy Chairman again adjourned the House till noon.