New Delhi: Samajwadi Party lawmaker Azam Khan apologized in the Lok Sabha on Monday over his objectionable remarks against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Rama Devi when she was chairing the proceedings of the House during a debate on Thursday. The issue had kicked up a storm in the Lower House last week when members cutting across party lines demanded ‘exemplary action’ against Khan.
“The matter that has come in front of you regarding me, I want to say that I had no such intention towards the Chair. I have been a nine-time MLA (member of Parliament), Rajya Sabha member, handled parliamentary affairs and everyone is aware of my behavior. If people think that I committed a mistake then I am sorry for it," Khan said in the Lok Sabha at the start of the day’s proceedings.
The apology was not acceptable to some of the members of the House. Union parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said, “The disrespect which has been meted out to all women parliamentarians and to the women community, he should apologize properly to finish this."
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav got up to speak on behalf of Khan, but drew sharp reaction from the treasury benches. Following loud protests, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla asked Khan to repeat what he said.
“I have said it before that she is my sister. Whether you say something once or one thousand times, the issue will remain the same. I had no wrong feelings for the Chair but still if someone thinks otherwise, I apologize for it," Khan added.
A visibly agitated Rama Devi got up and asked who had authorized Yadav to speak on Khan’s behalf. “I am a senior parliamentarian and I have struggled to come here, to represent the voices of people. It does not mean that Azam Khan can say whatever he likes to the Chair. I am not here to hear such thing," Devi said.
“This House belong to everyone, this Chair too is yours and it is everyone’s duty to keep its dignity... please do not say anything that lowers the dignity of the House. Our attempt should be to keep the prestige of the House high," Birla said adding that he was hopeful that no such incident will be repeated in the future.