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Anti-Mahatma remarks create furore in Uttar Pradesh assembly
Tue, Mar 11 10:45 PM

Lucknow, March 11 (IANS) Uproarious scenes were witnessed in the Uttar Pradesh assembly Tuesday over remarks made by Lok Sabha member Yogi Adityanath of the Hindu Mahasabha against Mahatma Gandhi.

The issue brought arch rivals Samajwadi Party and the Congress on a common platform for the first time in recent history.

Members of the two parties not only shouted slogans but also stormed into the well of the house and in one voice condemned the allegedly 'dubious' attitude of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the issue.

It began with Congress legislature party leader Pramod Tiwari seeking to raise the issue through a point of order. He took strong exception to Adityanath's remarks questioning Mahatma Gandhi's status as the father of the nation.

'Gandhi was not the appropriate person to be called the father of the nation. Instead, the mantle should have gone to someone like Lord Ram or Krishna,' Adityanath, who represents Gorakhpur, told a gathering of youth at the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS)-run Saraswati Shishu Mandir here Monday.

Besides the local rank and file of the RSS, city mayor Dinesh Sharma of the BJP was also present on the occasion.

Tiwari trained his guns on the BJP and said all those subscribing to the BJP ideology were followers of Gandhiji's killer Nathuram Godse.

Resenting the remark, BJP leader Hukum Singh said: 'We have deep regard for Mahatma Gandhi and we all refer to him as Bapu too. But that does not mean that anyone who does not agree with that could be bracketed with the murderer of Gandhiji.'

'The title of the 'father of the nation' is not a constitutional position, but a sobriquet given by people out of utmost regard for Mahatma Gandhi. Therefore, everyone was free to express his opinion and that was perhaps what the Gorakhpur MP had done,' Singh argued.

Singh added: 'We all hold Gandhiji in very high esteem but the fact remains that some fake Gandhis have been using the name only to take political mileage.'

At that point, Tiwari got infuriated and led the Congress members into the well of the house.

As Tiwari and others chanted 'Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram', Gandhiji's favourite hymn, Samajwadi Party members too trooped into the well and raised anti-BJP slogans.

This was preceded by strong speeches by Samajwadi Party leader and former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is also Leader of Opposition in the house.

Coming out in open support of Tiwari, he seconded the demand for action against the Hindu hardliner MP for anti-Gandhiji remarks.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Laljee Verma opposed Tiwari's insistence of allowing the issue to be raised through a point of propriety. Amid the din that prevailed, Speaker Sukhdeo Rajbhar adjourned the house for 30 minutes after which other issues were taken up.

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