Cong stages walkout over insult of Mahatma Gandhi by Khadi chairman

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Lucknow, Dec 5 (UNI) Congress members in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly today staged a walk out to protest the alleged insult of Mahatma Gandhi by chairman of the state Khadi Board.

Congress members raised the issue during the Zero Hour alleging that Khadi Board chairman Dayaram Sen, who enjoys the rank of a minister of state, had asked the organisers of a programme last month to remove the portrait of the Mahatma from the dias and had even made derogatory remarks against the Father of the Nation at Shikohabad in Ferozabad district.

On November 15, the Congress had organised a dharna outside Shikohabad police station to protest the ''insult''. The party had also asked the police to lodge FIR against Mr Sen. AICC general secretary in charge of UP and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, UPCC president Rita Joshi and a few MLAs had courted arrest on the same day.

State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Lalji Verma, however, denied that Gandhiji was insulted in the programme. ''The BSP respects all social and national icons, especially Mahatma Gandhi as he had spearheaded the freedom movement...the district magistrate's report says that no such thing had taken place in Shikohabad,'' he said.

Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Pramod Tiwari claimed, he had the video footage of the programme to further his claims. ''If I am lying, I will resign. But if the minister's claims are found to be untrue, then he should step down,'' he said.

The Speaker rejected the Congress' demand for a debate on the issue.

Dejected Congress MLAs rushed to the Well of the house and sat on a dharna. They later staged a walk out of the proceedings.

UNI

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