Gadkari apologises to Scindia (Lead)

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New Delhi : Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday apologised to Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia in the Lok Sabha after he said he was not invited to an official function in his constituency in Madhya Pradesh and that his name was missing from the plaque.

The foundation-laying ceremony of the Rs 3,900-crore Shivpuri-Devas four-lane project was held on July 23.

As the Zero Hour started, Scindia said: "The local MPs should be invited for such programmes as per the protocol. But if the rules would be flouted and local MPs are insulted, then I am moving a privilege motion."

He said he wanted to move a privilege motion against the Chief Minister (Shivraj Singh Chouhan).

In reply, the Minister for Road Transport and Highways apologised since the function was organised by his Ministry, and admitted that it should not have happened. He also said that he has inquired into the matter and found it to be true.

"I am aware of this and since I was present there (at the inauguration), I should be held responsible. The parliamentarian's name should have been there. This was a mistake. I apologise on behalf of everybody and this will not happen again," said Gadkari.

A war of words ensued between Scindia, supported by Congress MP K.C. Venugopal, and BJP MPs Ganesh Singh (Satna, Madhya Pradesh) and Narendra Singh Tomar, who is the Rural Development Minister.

Scindia was not satisfied with the reply and said that interests of the members of Parliament should be protected and action taken against those responsible for the mistake since it was a matter of breach of privilege of the lawmaker.

Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said that MPs should not be treated in this manner. Kharge demanded that the Speaker should give an instruction that the MPs should be invited for official functions.

Replying to him the Speaker said: "The government has already instructed that the MPs should be invited for official functions in their constituencies. But, wherever this is not happening, they should be invited."

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had to intervene as Scindia was not ready to relent. "Do I have to apologise? If you don't allow me to speak, how will I give protection? Should I use a stick to provide protection?"

"I appreciate that Gadkariji showed greatness in tendering an apology but this should not be the conduct on the other side."

"This is not how one should conduct (in the house). This is not a good attitude," said Mahajan.

Tomar said that the matter should not be politicised as the Minister had apologised.

"It is wrong not to invite the Congress MP, but during the UPA rule, BJP MPs were not invited to such events. Which BJP MP was invited during UPA rule? when Gadkariji has apologised, this should be a closed chapter now," said Tomar.