NEW DELHI: AAP MP Bhagwant Mann found himself in trouble on Friday not only because of the video he had posted showing Parliament’s security pickets but also because of a complaint by a fellow MP about the ‘stink’ of alcohol emanating from him in the House.
Mann met Speaker Sumitra Mahajan twice during the day to tender an unconditional apology for his video but she was not impressed. “It is not enough as the allegations against him are very serious. Since this incident happened outside the House, I am consulting other MPs on the action that can be taken against him,” Mahajan told reporters after the House was adjourned for the day. “Security of Parliament is paramount.” Mann was initially defiant and had threatened to record and stream a similar video again. However, he later said he would not repeat his act. “I have apologised in person and I am ready to do so in the House. Besides, I have offered to give an undertaking that I will not repeat the act. MPs are politicising the issue,” he said.
Mann reportedly called on several senior netas, including leader of Rajya Sabha and finance minister Arun Jaitley, to explain his “innocence”. Raising the issue in Rajya Sabha, BJP MPs demanded action against Mann for “compromising” the security of Parliament and forced two adjournments without any business being transacted. The matter figured in the Lok Sabha too with BJP and Akali Dal MPs meeting the Speaker and seeking an inquiry into the alleged security breach.Meanwhile, suspended AAP MP Harinder Khalsa told that because of the ‘stink’ of alcohol emanating from the chair next to him (occupied by Mann), he would feel nauseous at times. Khalsa said his seat number was 495 and the occupant of 496 often came to the House inebriated. The Speaker confirmed receiving Khalsa’s application and said she was looking into it.
Congress leader Digvijay Singh, however, claimed the disruptions were intended to stop passage of amendments to the Andhra Pradesh Bifurcation Bill in Rajya Sabha. However, the treasury was of the view that the proposed amendments in the original bill made it a money bill, which could have originated in Lok Sabha and could in any case not be taken up in the upper House.