The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Ramesh Bidhuri, a member of Parliament, sparked a significant controversy this week in the newly constructed Parliament building. During a session, he directed religious slurs and hate speech at fellow Lok Sabha member Danish Ali from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). The incident, captured on video during a discussion about Chandrayaan-3’s success, gained widespread attention and criticism after going viral the following day.
Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla, took immediate action by removing the offensive comments from the official record and issuing a stern warning to Bidhuri. He stated that any similar conduct in the future would result in severe consequences. However, several leaders argued that the Speaker’s response was insufficient and demanded Bidhuri’s suspension.
In the contentious video, Bidhuri, representing South Delhi, was seen and heard using derogatory language. These terms were reiterated on social media by leaders such as Trinamool Congress’ Mahua Moitra, National Conference’s Omar Abdullah, and the targeted BSP’s Ali. All expressed their condemnation of Bidhuri’s behaviour and called for action.
Moitra, via a post on social media, demanded that Bidhuri serve as an example to others. She highlighted the offensive terms used, tagging significant figures such as Birla, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and BJP chief JP Nadda in her post.
Ex-chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Abdullah, drew attention to Birla’s warning to Bidhuri, criticising the leniency shown. He compared it to the suspension of opposition MPs for minor offences, suggesting a discrepancy in treatment. Abdullah also repeated Bidhuri’s derogatory comments to emphasise the ease with which the BJP MP had used such language. He questioned the position of Muslim supporters within the BJP amidst such blatant displays of hatred.
Ali, the target of the slurs, penned a formal complaint to the Speaker. He highlighted the offensive language used by Bidhuri, calling for appropriate action.
In response to the outcry, BJP’s defence minister, Rajnath Singh, expressed regret over Bidhuri’s remarks. He was quoted as saying that he regretted if the opposition felt hurt by the MP’s comments. However, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh dismissed this as a half-hearted, afterthought apology and called Bidhuri’s words an insult to Parliament. He asserted the inacceptability of such behaviour, indicating that more severe consequences should follow.