P Chidambaram faces flak in Parliament

New Delhi: Home Minister P Chidambaram on Friday came under attack in Parliament for reportedly saying that India would have made more progress if it had only Southern and Western parts, with some members demanding his removal for utterances "against national unity".

Members in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha took strong objection to Chidambaram`s comments reportedly made during his interaction with US Ambassador Timothy Roemer in 2009, which was cited by the WikiLeaks, first accessed by `The Hindu` daily.

In the Lok Sabha, Samajwadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav raised the issue, saying Chidambaram, despite being the Home Minister of the country, had made comments "against the national unity".

The more serious aspect was that Chidambaram had said so to "a foreign Ambassador", Yadav said amid chants by his party members — "where is the Home Minister?"

The SP leader said it was highly objectionable that Chidambaram had said it in his capacity as Home Minister.

His statement prompted his party members to raise demands like "hata do, hata do (remove him, remove him)".

The SP members soon rushed to the Well, with Yadav saying that Chidambaram`s comments were "shameful" and he should be removed. He also demanded apology from Chidambaram.

The SP members were supported by those from BJP who were on their feet, attacking Chidambaram.

The Home Minister was not present in the House at that time.

In view of the din, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House for 45 minutes, till 1 PM.

When the House re-assembled, members of SP, BJP and RJD again created uproar.

Yadav demanded that Chidambaram make a statement in the House on the WikiLeaks issue.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal sought to cool the tempers by saying that the WikiLeaks` contents should not be trusted.

"Let WikiLeaks not leak the country," he said, contending that the website should not dictate the discourse in the country.

P C Chacko, who was in the Chair, told Yadav that he had brought to notice of the House "a very important matter" and now he should resume his seat.

But, agitated SP members walked to the Well and shouted slogans against Chidambaram, like "Home Minister down down", "Sack the Home Minister", "Come to your senses" and "Stop dividing the nation".

They continued to create uproar even as Minister for Minority Affairs Salman Khursheed replied to short duration debate on need to uplift the socio-economic and educational status of minorities.

Soon after, the House was adjourned sine die.

In the Rajya Sabha, Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) raised the issue, saying Chidambaram had insulted the country by his comments.

"It (the remark) endangers national integrity," he said, demanding that Chidambaram should immediately withdraw the statement.

Members of BJP, JD(U) and RJD supported him.

Deputy Chairman Rahman Khan said authenticity of the WikiLeaks content could not be trusted.