NEW DELHI The Congress on Wednesday walked out of the Lok Sabha, demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi make a statement on US President Donald Trump’s claim on Kashmir mediation.
The Lower House witnessed vociferous protests from opposition parties over the issue.
“We want to hear the facts from the horse’s mouth. What is wrong in this demand. We want that the prime minister should come and give a statement,” Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said.
As opposition parties were shouting slogans in the well, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla gave them time to raise the issue.
However, when Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stood for the reply, the Congress staged a walkout from the House demanding a reply from the prime minister.
Chowdhury said people want to know what transpired between the US President and the Prime Minister Modi in Osaka in June.
He said under the Shimla agreement, Kashmir is a bilateral
issue and no third party mediation is acceptable.
“But we are seeing that the US President stated that Prime Minister Modi asked for mediation,” he said, adding this fact could be right or wrong but neither the US President nor the Prime Minister has denied this.
“He (Modi) is giving answers through his representatives,” he said.
DMK leader T R Baalu said it was a strange situation that opposition parties have to demand the presence of the prime minister in the House.
The Lok Sabha witnessed ruckus for the second straight day on Wednesday on the issue.
Joined by members from some other Opposition parties, Congress members trooped into the Well soon after the Question Hour began and were engaged in sloganeering.
More than 30 members, mainly from the Congress, were in the Well shouting slogans even as Speaker Om Birla went ahead with the Question Hour.
On Monday, Trump claimed that Modi had asked him to play the role of a mediator on Kashmir but the government said the prime minister made no request to Trump.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has already clarified on the issue and wondered what was the problem now.
Later, he was seen having a chat with Home Minister Amit Shah.
As the uproar continued, Joshi said that while no doubt about the issue is left since the External Affairs Minister has already given a statement, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh would respond during Zero Hour as the Opposition has again raised the matter.
However, protesting members were not convinced and continued with their sloganeering. They were heard shouting ‘Prime Minister jawab do jawab do’ (Prime Minister should answer).
On Tuesday also, the Opposition had sought a response from the prime minister on the issue.