A question asked in Tamil triggered heated exchanges in Lok Sabha on Wednesday between the Opposition and Treasury benches that spilled over to the issue of ministers giving replies in Hindi.
It all started during Question Hour, with DMK member A Ganeshamurthi asking a supplementary question about FDI inflow in Tamil and Union minister Piyush Goyal saying that he missed the first part in Tamil and wanted to know which project was he referring to.
“If I ask a question in English, then the ministers should respond in English only… a member asks a question in Tamil and the minister replies in Hindi,” the member remarked and Mr Goyal responded by saying that he can answer in Hindi while the translation is available for the member.
Some opposition members shouted as they also apparently sought to raise the issue of ministers replying in Hindi to questions asked in English. In recent times, there have been instances in the House when opposition members, especially from southern states, have protested against such a trend.
Speaker Om Birla asked Mr Ganeshamurthi to repeat the question and the member asked the same in Tamil.
A visibly peeved Mr Goyal asked the Chair for a ruling on whether there is any rule that a question asked in a language should be replied to in the same language.
“I will give the reply in Hindi… I also listened to the translation (of the question that was asked in Tamil),” the minister said.
As Mr Ganeshamurthi again raised the issue, Mr Birla smiled and asked the member to put on the headphones. Mr Birla, who generally speaks Hindi in the House, spoke in English, saying “please member address to the Chair… no problem”.
When it was the member’s turn to ask the second supplementary question, he said he will ask in Tamil only and raised the question.
And Mr Goyal gave the reply in Hindi.
Last week, Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who were also former party colleagues, sparred over the minister replying to English questions in Hindi.
While responding to supplementary questions asked by members from Tamil Nadu in English, the civil aviation minister had replied in Hindi.
Soon after, Mr Tharoor had commented that it was an “apmaan” (insult) that the minister was responding in Hindi.
Mr Scindia had then responded that it was strange for the member to make such a comment.
Immediately after Mr Tharoor made the remarks, Speaker Om Birla had said, “Ye apmaan nahi hain (this is not an insult).” PTI NAB RAM SRY
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