The issue of imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand continued to stall the Rajya Sabha for the second day on Tuesday but Lok Sabha, where the government has a majority, functioned normally.
The Lower House took up the demand for grants for railways for 2016-17. Members cutting across party lines enthusiastically took part in the proceedings up to 7pm. Opposition members also took part in debates and question hour.
But the Upper House, where the opposition has more members than treasury benches, witnessed repeated disruptions over the Uttarakhand political crisis. The chair finally adjourned the House for the day around 3 pm after repeated requests for peace went unheeded.
Soon after newly nominated members, including Mary Kom, Narendra Jadhav, Subramanian Swamy and Swapan Dasgupta were administered the oath, the Congress and other opposition members started raising slogans against the Narendra Modi government and sought a debate on Uttarakhand.
The Congress demanded an apology from the central government for what it said was the destabilisation of the Harish Rawat government.
Parliamentary affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the opposition was not interested in what the government had to say on the issue.
Opposition leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad, charged finance minister Arun Jaitley with trying to set a wrong precedent by accusing Uttarakhand assembly speaker, Govind Singh Kunjwal, of “turning a minority government into a majority government” in the hill state.
Jaitley defended the imposition of President’s Rule and said it can be discussed in Parliament only when the proclamation is laid in both houses. “But the Congress is not interested (in letting the proclamation to be placed in Parliament).”
Congress members massed in front of the chairman’s podium more than once, shouting slogans like “Modi teri tanashahi nahi chalegi” (Modi, your dictatorship won’t be tolerated).
The Rajya Sabha has failed to transact any official business since Parliament convened on Monday.
In the Lok Sabha, the demand for grants for railways was passed after railways minister Suresh Prabhu’s reply.
Earlier, initiating a debate, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge criticised the government for indulging in gimmicks.
Among others, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Yogi Adityanath (BJP), Tapas Mandal (Trinamool Congress), and Shrirang Appe Barne (Shiv Sena) spoke.
During the question hour, minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju said that two files related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, including one from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), were missing.
Members posed questions on the severe drought and water crisis in parts of the country, especially in the Latur region of Maharashtra.
Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh admitted that “bhayankar” (terrible) conditions prevailed in the Marathwada region. He said big dams did not help farmers and were built only to help big sugar mills.
This provoked angry reactions from opposition members, including Supriya Suley of NCP.
The government also asserted that the deployment of central forces at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Srinagar would not alienate the Kashmiri youth.
“Even Jammu and Kashmir Police are outside the campus. So I don’t think there will be any alienation,” Rijiju added.