New Delhi: Opposition MPs staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha on Thursday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was replying to a debate on the no-confidence motion, complaining that there was no reference to Manipur in the first 90 minutes of his speech.
Opposition MPs were seen chanting ‘Manipur, Manipur’ during the prime minister’s reply as they urged him to speak on the ethnic violence in the northeastern state.
The parliamentarians of the parties of the opposition bloc INDIA then staged a walkout while the prime minister was speaking.
Members of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) also walked out of the House subsequently.
Later on in his over-two-hour speech, the prime minister spoke on the situation in Manipur and added the Centre and the state government were making all-out efforts to restore peace there.
After the opposition walkout, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said, “We asked the PM to address the nation on Manipur. After one hour and 45 minutes (of his speech), he had not mentioned the word Manipur. He was making a purely political speech, there were all the old attacks on Congress party and the opposition, insults, but there were no answers to questions raised by the no-confidence motion.” “It was a purely political speech. What was new? What did he tell the nation that we did not know? It lacked the gravitas that we associate with PM, and lacked any substantive reference to the motion of no-confidence,” he said.
Gaurav Gogoi, who moved the no-confidence motion in the House, said, “This no-confidence motion had two objectives – first, people of Manipur should get justice and second, PM Modi should speak on Manipur issue.” “After so long, the nation could see the PM speaking in the House. We forced him to break his silence…but the objective of getting justice for Manipur was not achieved. PM Modi is running away from his responsibility,” he said.
DMK MP TR Baalu said the opposition was expecting to hear from the prime minister about the situation in Manipur and other parts of the country where incidents of violence have been reported. “He has given a political speech,” Baalu added.
“The intention of the no-confidence motion was… to hear his response on Manipur and Haryana, and other areas where violence is taking place. We intervened many times but he did not respond,” he said.
Congress leader Karti Chidambaram said, “The debate on who is the greatest spinner in India’s history has been settled. It is the BJP government led by PM Modi.” “In 90 minutes, he did not address the issue of the day – Manipur. We brought a no-confidence motion because the PM refused to come to the House and say what the government is doing. It is an insult to all people of Manipur and integrity of India, that is why we protested and walked out of the House,” he said.