Entry to Guj temple: Standoff over Kumari Selja resolved as Jaitley withdraws remarks
New Delhi, Dec 3: The standoff between the government and opposition in Rajya Sabha over Congress leader Kumari Selja's remarks about her entry to a Gujarat temple was resolved today with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley withdrawing his comment and his ministerial colleague Piyush Goyal expressing regret.
The issue, which stalled proceedings in Rajya Sabha since yesterday, was resolved after negotiations outside the House among the leaders of various parties, mediated by Chairman Hamid Ansari and Deputy Chairman P J Kurien.
After lunch, when the House re-assembled after repeated adjournments, Jaitley, who is also the Leader of the House, thanked the Chairman and Deputy Chairman for convening meetings of leaders to end the impasse.
"In view of Seljaji's statement that she had made no reference to the main Dwarka temple in her speech on Monday, and which she has reiterated yesterday also, the issue raised by me yesterday doesn't survive.
"The comments which have been made in the course, I leave it to the Chair to go through it. The concerned Minister Mr Goyal has already expressed regret for what he had said," Jaitley said.
Earlier in the day, Goyal, Minister for Coal and Power for whom the opposition was gunning for making comment on Selja's remarks, had expressed regret but the Congress leader had refused to accept it.
Selja, while participating in a debate on the Constitution on Monday, had alleged that she had faced discrimination at the temple when she visited there as a Union Minister some years back as she was asked about her caste.
She had alleged that "this was also a form of the Gujarat model", an apparent attack on Narendra Modi.
Commenting on this, Goyal yesterday said it was "manufactured discrimination", leading to uproar because of which the House remained deadlocked for most part of the day.
When the House met for the day today, Congress members continued uproar, demanding apology by Goyal and forcing 30-minute adjournment.
When the House re-assembled, Goyal said, "Sir, in view of the Chair's decision to review the record, I have taken a....I regret the comments made with reference to my distinguished colleague, Kumari Selja."
However, Congress members were unrelenting and stormed the Well as Selja refused to accept the minister's regret.