New Delhi, Feb 6 (PTI) DMK MP T R Baalu's remark against Union minister L Murugan in the Lok Sabha on Monday triggered a war of words with the BJP, which accused him of "insulting" a Dalit and demanded an apology from him.
The DMK, in turn, termed the minister a "traitor" who spoke against the interests of his home state of Tamil Nadu.
The exchange of barbs between the two sides began during the Question Hour in the Lok Sabha and continued outside the House.
During the Question Hour, the Lok Sabha witnessed noisy scenes over Baalu's remark against Murugan, with ministers and BJP MPs demanding an apology from the DMK MP for "insulting" a Dalit.
As Baalu did not heed to the demand, Speaker Om Birla expunged the word from the records while DMK members along with Congress and Left MPs staged a walkout.
The incident took place when the House was discussing a question related to the Tamil Nadu flood relief.
After two of his party colleagues asked questions on the subject, Baalu posed a supplementary query to the minister. Murugan, the Union minister of state for fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying, said the DMK leader was asking an "irrelevant" question.
Baalu repeatedly used a term against Murugan, triggering the war of words.
Both Baalu and Murugan hail from Tamil Nadu, where the DMK is in power.
Outside the House, Murugan told reporters that the DMK and its leader M K Stalin have no faith in social justice and they cannot accept the fact that a downtrodden person has become a minister.
"They want to keep Dalits as their vote bank," he said.
Speaking with reporters, DMK's Baalu and A Raja rejected the minister's charge that any unparliamentary term was used.
Baalu said Murugan was a "traitor" who spoke against the interests of Tamil Nadu and added he described him as "unfit", which was not an unparliamentary word.
Raja said even he was a Dalit and that there was no remark about Murugan's social background.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said dubbing Murugan as "unfit" when he only told Baalu not to ask "irrelevant" question was an insult to a Dalit minister.
He said as the Congress was supporting the DMK on the issue, it should also explain its stand. "Is this your politics?" Meghwal asked.
Congress MP Karti Chidambaram said while he was not a witness to the episode, he was sure that the DMK had raised a legitimate demand.
He said it was unfortunate that the BJP was giving it an "underhanded spin". PTI NAB SMN