A major chunk Lok Sabha members on Friday demanded an exemplary action against Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan for his alleged sexist remark against Rama Devi.
BJP leader Sanghamitra Maurya moved a motion requesting Speaker Om Birla to punish Azam Khan to set an example for others. Azam Khan had used objectionable words during a debate on Triple Talaq bill on Thursday, while the BJP lawmaker Rama Devi, officiating as Speaker, asked Azam Khan to address the Chair while making his point.
The motion was seconded by BJD leader Bhartuhari Mahtab and other members of the house. Union ministers Smriti Irani and Ravi Shankar Prasad sought immediate suspension of Azam Khan from the Lok Sabha pending a final decision. "This is an abominable act, I appeal to you for exemplary action," said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
But, Congress's leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said action should be taken against everyone who shows disrespect towards women inside the house or outside. He said such matters should be dealt without taking into consideration the party affiliation of members insulting a woman MP. He said the privileges committee of the Lok Sabha is empowered to take a decision in this matter. However,condemnation came even from opposition benches. "Nobody can stand in Parliament and tell a woman - look into my eyes and talk. Speaker sir, all women here are expecting something big from you on this," said Trinamool Congress lawmaker Mimi Chakraborty.
While seeking action against Azam Khan a few members including AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi took a potshot at MJ Akbar, the former Union Minister who had to resign after #Metoo controversy. Owaisi sought to know what happened to the committee that was formed to investigate the allegation against Akbar.
Some other members, however, pointed out that since the privileges committee has not yet been formed in the newly constituted Lok Sabha, the power to take action against an erring member lies with the Speaker. For this, the Speaker said: "I will hold meeting with leaders of all parties and then take a decision."