Din in Chhattisgarh Assy over anti-PM remarks

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Raipur, Mar 5 (UNI) The Chhattisgarh Assembly was adjourned till March 10 as pandemonium prevailed in the house for the second consecutive day today with the opposition Congress raising slogans and demanding the arrest of former Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament Ramvilas Vedanti for alleged derogatory remarks about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and others at a function during the annual kumbh underway at nearby Rajim.

As soon as the house assembled, Leader of the Opposition Mahendra Karma was on his feet alleging that Mr Vedanti made derogatory remarks and also termed the Centre as a government of ''traitors'' while delivering a discourse.

''Such religious congregations and fairs are associated with people's faith. These fora cannot be used for spreading communal ills and fulfilling a narrow political agenda,'' he said, adding that monks and seers would lose credibility if they indulged in such activities.

''It is a serious issue. Rajim is a holy place,'' Mr Karma said, adding that video recordings of Mr Vedanti's speech clearly showed that he made derogatory remarks. Mr Satyanarayan Sharma (Cong) demanded Mr Vedanti's arrest under the National Security Act.

Culture Minister Brijmohan Agrawal said that the government neither subscribed to Mr Vedanti's views nor approved such comments.

''I regret that the incident happened,'' he said, adding that Mr Vedanti had apologised.

As Mr Bhupesh Baghel (Cong) began raising slogans demanding Mr Vedanti's arrest, his party colleagues joined him, forcing Speaker Prem Prakash Pandey to adjourn the house twice. Even after the house re-assembled, sloganeering continued and the Speaker's repeated appeals to maintain order and allow the question hour were drowned in the din.

As pandemonium continued, the Speaker adjourned the house till March 10.

UNI JJ AC 1742

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