New Delhi | The last minute decision of the Congress to withdraw Rahul Gandhi's name as the lead speaker on the no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha led to heated exchanges between the opposition and treasury benches on Tuesday.
As Speaker Om Birla called Congress Deputy Leader Gaurav Gogoi to speak on the motion, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi wondered what prompted the party to change its speaker.
"What happened sir, we are eager to listen to Rahul Gandhi," Joshi said, adding that he was aware that a letter was delivered to the office of the Lok Sabha secretary general about Gandhi being the lead speaker.
Joshi said the letter was delivered at 11:55 am and the House was eager to know "what changed in five minutes" that Gogoi was named the lead speaker.
Gogoi objected to Joshi's remarks and said should the opposition members also reveal what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in the Speaker's chamber.
"We do not say such things," Gogoi said.
At this point, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said Gogoi was levelling a serious allegation and should come clean on the issue.
"You cannot level such wild allegations," Joshi said.
Gogoi insisted that revealing what happens in the Speaker's office
amounted to impropriety and the parliamentary affairs minister should not set new precedents.
BJP member Nishikant Dubey, participating in the debate, also took a dig at the Gandhi scion. He said the former Congress president was expected to initiate the debate, but did not do so last minute as "probably he woke up late".
"Perhaps he was not prepared, he may have woken up late. No issues, Gaurav Gogoi spoke. He spoke quite well," he said.
Dubey also raked up the National Herald case involving the Gandhis.
The Congress had said that Rahul Gandhi would initiate the debate on the no-confidence motion against the Modi government in the Lower House on Tuesday.