The Lok Sabha was repeatedly adjourned on Monday following differences between some opposition MPs and those from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) when a CPI-M member attributed some remarks published in a magazine to Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

CPI-M’s Mohammad Salim, who initiated a discussion in the Lok Sabha on the allegedly rising “intolerance” in the country, cited the Home Minister as having made the remarks to the magazine. The ruling NDA MPs contested this vehemently.

Singh, denying having made any such remark, said he was deeply hurt by the claim. “I have never been so much hurt in my parliamentary life. If a home minister makes such comments, he has no right to be in his post,” Singh said, adding “members of the House and people from the minority community know that he cannot make such remarks”.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said Salim’s remarks would not go on record and she would examine the issue and only then give her ruling.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy, however, said the member should withdraw the comments till the authenticity of the report was ascertained. He said it would be difficult for members on the treasury benches to sit in the House after allegations “which are dangerous for the country”.

Salim said he did not want to hurt the minister and he had done the job of intelligence agencies by telling the minister about publication of comments attributed to him. Rudy, however, insisted that Salim should withdraw his words. Amidst the standoff, the Speaker adjourned the House for an hour.

After the House assembled again, Rudy insisted on the CPI-M member withdrawing his remarks. Salim, however, said he would not withdraw his remarks. As the standoff continued, Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai briefly adjourned the House again.

When the House reassembled after its second adjournment of the day, Congress member M. Veerapa Moily said that since both Salim and Rajnath Singh had spoken, the matter should be put to rest. However, the stalemate persisted and the house was adjourned till3.15 p.m. and then again till 4 pm.

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