New Delhi | The conversion heat, which has been paralysing Rajya Sabha since last week, today reached the Lok Sabha with opposition trying to corner the government which asserted that neither it nor BJP has anything to do with conversions. Raising the issue in the wake of media report about conversion of 30 Dalit Christians to Hinduism in Kerala, the opposition demanded that only Prime Minister should respond to the concerns over it because only his writ runs in the country and he is the commanding authority who holds the master key.
Rejecting the demand, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the government does not support conversion or reconversion and if any individuals are violating the law, state governments are empowered to take action. In the midst of pandemonium, the House witnessed a low with RJD member Rajesh Ranjan tearing a newspaper and throwing its pieces, drawing strong condemnation from the Chair.
Opposition and Treasury benches indulged in slanging match repeatedly leading to two adjournments. Several parties, including Congress, TMC, Left, RJD, JDU and JDS, staged a walkout expressing unhappiness over rejection of their demand. The issue of conversion, which has led to stalling of Rajya Sabha for almost entire last week, was raised by Congress member K C Venugopal.
He was supported by other members of Congress and opposition parties. In response, Naidu said, Government has no role in conversions or reconversions. Party (BJP) has nothing to do with the individuals who are doing it. If anybody violates the law, the law should take its course. Contending that conversion is taking place voluntarily, he said, Government is nowhere in the picture, the party (BJP) is nowhere in the picture.
If any individual does it, action has to be taken by the state government. He repeatedly said government does not support conversion and insisted that the country was peaceful. He accused the Opposition of trying to make a political issue. Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge insisted that only Prime Minister should respond, saying only his writ runs in the country and he holds the master key.
Kharge referred to Naidu’s earlier comment that he was proud of RSS background, prompting the Minister to say, You are proud of Gandhi parivar, I am proud of Sangh parivar. Naidu also took strong objection to opposition slogans PM bhaag gaya and said, You attack our leader again and again … We should have respect for each other. He told the Opposition that any personal remark will boomerang on it as it did in Lok Sabha polls.