November 13, 2023

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As Mahua Moitra panel wraps up, progress on Ramesh Bidhuri row under wraps | Political Pulse News

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At the last hearing of the privileges panel, on October 10, Bidhuri had given oral evidence, getting permission to skip his October 11 appearance as he was busy in poll-related work of the BJP in Rajasthan. He had said he would appear before the panel after that. But, 34 days have passed, and the committee has not met again.

Sources told The Indian Express that the committee, which usually meets once or twice a month, has not yet fixed a date for the next meeting. Neither has it summoned Ali, the complainant against Bidhuri.

The BJP had also filed a counter appeal against Ali in the case.

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The purported reason for the privileges panel not meeting is the string of holidays, starting with Dussehra and Diwali, and now extending to Chhath, making the availability of members an issue.

Sources said the committee would fix a date for its next meeting after the Chhath festival, and will then decide when to call Ali. It will also summon Bidhuri for cross-examination on his oral evidence.

On September 22, during a discussion on Chandrayaan 3 in the Lok Sabha while the special session was on, Bidhuri had used objectionable remarks against Ali, which were expunged by the Speaker from the records. In his letter to the Speaker, Ali said the BJP South Delhi MP had called him “bhadwa (pimp), “katwa (circumcised one)” and “Mullah aatankwadi (Muslim terrorist)”.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who was present in the House, had apologised for Bidhuri’s remarks.

The next day, while Ali and many Opposition leaders had sought action against Bidhuri, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey had claimed that the BSP MP had instigated Bidhuri into making the remarks, and that there should be an enquiry into statements by him and other Opposition leaders.

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The entire matter was then referred to the Privileges Committee of the Lok Sabha.

While questioning the ethics panel’s functioning, Moitra had pointed out that it had summoned those who made the accusations against her, before calling her. The privilege panel, she said, had followed the correct procedure and first questioned the accused (Bidhuri).

The privileges panel has 14 members currently – including BJP MPs Sunil Kumar Singh (who heads it), Raju Bista, Dilip Ghosh, Chandra Prakash Joshi, Naranbhai Kacchadia, Rajiv Pratap Singh Rudy, Janardan Singh Sigriwal and Ganesh Singh; T R Baalu (DMK); Kalyan Banerjee (TMC); Suresh Kodikunnil (Congress); Omprakash Rajenimbalkar (Shiv Sena); Talari Rangaiah (YSRCP); and Achyutananda Samanta (BJD).

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