New Delhi, Feb 4: A Rajya Sabha Member of the Congress said he is feeling "depressed, dejected and ashamed" at being called "mad and a laughing stock" by the Chair on Friday, even though the remarks were later expunged by the Chair.
In a letter to Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, dated February 3, and shared with the media on Sunday, Congress MP K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao has lashed out at Kurien.
He said the use of those words were "not any humiliation for me but... certainly a great humiliation for the people of my state (Andhra Pradesh), who were agitating for fulfilment of their legitimate rights".
On Friday, after the Upper House of Parliament met for the day, Rao stood near the Chairman's podium, displaying a placard to the House.
While a number of opposition members from various parties stood to the left of the podium raising the issue of police high-handedness against Muslims in Uttar Pradesh's Kasganj, Rao stood silently on the right side, with his back to the Chair and flaunting a placard.
Rao was apparently expressing his displeasure at the alleged "continuous apathy" of the Central government towards Andhra Pradesh and the non-implementation of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 in its "true spirit".
The state, that was bifurcated in 2014, had been seeking special development packages from the Centre.
As Rao stood near the podium, he caught the attention of Kurien who was presiding over the House. Kurien asked Rao to stop but when the latter ignored his instructions, Kurien wondered if Rao had gone "mad" and is thus behaving this way.
Kurien also asked Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad to intervene and ask Rao to go back to his seat.
However, Kurien had shortly afterwards expunged the word "mad" and its subsequent references from the records of the House.
In his letter, Rao wrote: "For the first time in life, I could not console myself last night with a deep feeling of depression and dejection and felt ashamed being the Member of Parliament who was compelled to stay a silent spectator during the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in the name of parliamentary customs and conventions...
"...And now being referred to by Chair as 'mad and laughing stock' solely because of democratically demanding the Central government to implement the A.P. Reorganisation Act and fulfil the constitutional commitments made to the people of the state."
After seeing the "apathy" of the Central government towards Andhra Pradesh and its people during the last four years, "I wish I would have been mad rather than sitting idle in the House" witnessing the injustice being done to the state by the Union government, which has the constitutional obligation to fulfil the promises made during the process of bifurcation, Rao said.
While Rao began his letter on a philosophical note, quoting Plato who called madness as the "divine release of the soul from the yoke of custom and convention", the Congress MP concluded by saying that he wished to continue his fight for the rights of the people of his state and felt "proud even when termed as mad for the sake of people".