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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

PM to speak today but Opposition won't pipe down

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 23, 2013
First Published: 00:27 IST(23/8/2013) | Last Updated: 03:32 IST(23/8/2013)

No sooner had it softened its position over the prime minister's statement on missing files of the coal scam to allow smooth functioning of Parliament, the government's move to suspend 10 Andhra Pradesh MPs in the Lok Sabha triggered fresh crisis, leading to further delay in the passage of food security bill.

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Bowing to the opposition demand, the government said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will speak on the missing file issue in Parliament.

"The government has nothing to hide or conceal. The coal minister will make a statement. Thereafter, a discussion can be held in the House in which the PM can intervene," parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath said in Lok Sabha.

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This was a major climb-down from his statement in the morning. "The PM is not a custodian of files. He does not sit in store rooms, does not need to reply."

As the impasse continued, the PM discussed with President Pranab Mukherjee the issues before Parliament. Mukherjee is understood to have given his counsel ways to handle recalcitrant Andhra MPs and the passage of important bills.

Racing against time, the government is considering extending the ongoing monsoon session by a week till September 5.

Earlier, the Lok Sabha saw unanimous demand by the opposition for PM's clarification on missing files. Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said these files belonged to the period when the PM was in charge of the coal ministry from 2006 to 2009.

Though the government's assurance restored normalcy in the Rajya Sabha, its motion to suspend six Congress and four TDP MPs from the Lok Sabha for repeatedly disrupting the proceedings, plunged the House into disorder. These MPs have been protesting in Parliament against the proposed decision to carve out a separate state of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh.

All hell soon broke loose with agitated members putting microphones on the speaker's table. TDP's Naramalli Sivaprasad took out a whip from his pocket and was about to hit himself before it was snatched away by party colleagues.

In the motion, Nath said the "10 members who behaved in a manner unbecoming of MPs by continuously disturbing the proceedings of the House be suspended from services of the House for the remainder of the session".

The government, however, is considering withdrawing the motion.


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