Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) lawmaker Bhagwant Mann on Friday tendered an “unconditional apology” to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for posting a video on security zones in Parliament House premises.
“I have written to the Speaker tendering an unconditional apology,” Mann told reporters outside parliament premises and maintained that he had taken the video footage and circulated it on social networking sites “an-jaane mein” (in ignorance).
“I also have highest regard for this temple of democracy and did not want to jeopardise its security and dignity in any manner,” said Mann, who represents Punjab’s Sangrur constituency in the Lok Sabha.
He said he only wanted to tell viewers of how questions are sorted out by a system of lottery before they are taken up in the house.
“I am ready for all kinds of probe. Speaker may set up any committee. I will appear before it,” Mann said.
However, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said criticism of Mann’s action voiced on Friday by members in the house was “very serious”.
“I also understand many members are anguished over the episode,” she said, adding even she was concerned as it related to security of Parliament House in the backdrop of December 13, 2001, terror attack in which 13 security personnel had laid down their lives guarding the premises.
Mahajan said as the matter is serious, some action ought to be taken, but did not specify. Several members had earlier lodged complaints against Mann with the Speaker.
“If the issue was within the house, I could have taken an action immediately. But because it took place outside house but within parliament premises, I need to look into it,” Mahajan said, adding she is also in touch with leaders of all political parties on the matter.
Earlier in the Lok Sabha, responding to members’ anger and concern, the Speaker said, “Koi na koi karvayee karenge (We will take some action or the other)”.
Proceedings of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were washed out on Friday following an uproar over the AAP MP’s conduct. The Lok Sabha was adjourned till Monday a little after 12 noon. Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien adjourned the Rajya Sabha till Monday at 2.40 p.m.
No business was transacted in the two houses on Friday.
Mann on Thursday shot a video clip of his journey from home to Parliament House, including going past various security check points, and posted it on the social media, drawing thick flak from various quarters for putting Parliament complex security in peril.
Until Friday morning before the two houses met, Mann remained defiant, saying he has done no wrong and will post more such videos.
In the Lok Sabha, Prem Singh Chandumajra (Akali Dal) and R.K. Singh (BJP), among others, demanded immediate suspension or expulsion of Mann from the house.
B. Mahtab (Biju Janata Dal) said the matter was more serious than a mere breach of privilege and security as he believed the video was not circulated “out of mere foolishness or ignorance”.
“A separate committee must be set up by the Speaker,” Mahtab demanded.