New Delhi: There was some
discomfort among Congress MPs over the party's choice to field
Jagadambika Pal, an MP from Uttar Pradesh, as its first speaker in
the debate on the Liberhan report with a section feeling he should
not have been chosen as his name figures in the panel report.
Though party MPs
were not willing to speak on record, some said that the choice of
Pal gave the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party a handle to embarass
"He should not
have been fielded," a minister told IANS on the condition of
"It was an
embarrassing moment for us," he said, adding that the decision to
field Pal was taken by the parliamentary party.
Many other MPs in
the party also raised questions over the decision. They said if the
party had to field an MP from Uttar Pradesh to begin the debate,
Nirmal Khatri would have been a better choice.
Asked about the
choice of the party nominee, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said
it was for Pal to reply to any question about his role.
The BJP had got a
whiff of the Congress' plans to field Pal and had done its homework
to nail him during the debate.
When Speaker Meira
Kumar invited Pal to speak, BJP MPs asked if he was the same
Jagadambika Pal who has been named as a "kar sevak" (volunteer) in
the Liberhan Commission report on the Babri Masjid demolition.
In his speech, BJP
president Rajnath Singh also cited pages in the report where Pal's
"I welcome kar
sevak Jagadambika Pal," Rajnath Singh said.
Pal, who was the
chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for three days in February 1998, had
to defend himself as no party MP came to his rescue.
Rajnath Singh also
noted that Pal had served as a minister in Kalyan Singh government