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Anna's fast overshadows Parliament

Anna Hazare's fast today overshadowed Parliament with Opposition utilising the campaign on the Lokpal issue to the hilt to target the government, paralysing proceedings and forcing repeated adjournments.

delhi Updated: Aug 23, 2011 16:50 IST
Anna Hazare,Parliament,Lokpal

Anna Hazare's fast on Tuesday overshadowed Parliament with Opposition utilising the campaign on the Lokpal issue to the hilt to target the government, paralysing proceedings and forcing repeated adjournments.

The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were adjourned for the day without transacting any business after the two Houses witnessed two adjournments each.

It was trouble from the word go with BJP giving notices in both Houses for suspension of Question Hour to discuss the serious situation caused by lakhs of people in the country coming out on the streets to protest against corruption.

In the Lok Sabha, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj hit out at the government saying "it cannot wash its hands off the protests which are a result of the deep-rooted corruption in the government."

"Scams after scams have been unearthed in the past one year which are of huge magnitude as compared to the earlier scandals," she said.

"Barely had the din died down on Adarsh housing scam, the 2G issue came to the fore followed by CWG, Air India and now the KG Basin," she said, adding people were saying that crores of rupees were stashed away in foreign banks and there were no funds to build village roads.

Swaraj dubbed the Lokpal Bill introduced by the government in the Lok Sabha as "poor, weak and ineffective".

"The Bill brought by the government has neither teeth nor eyes. It is totally ineffective," she said.

The Lok Sabha also witnessed clashes between DMK and BJP members over issues to be taken up for discussion.

BJP members wanted an immediate discussion on corruption in the backdrop of Hazare's agitation, while the DMK pressed for a debate on Sri Lankan Tamils as listed in the agenda.

Both the Houses saw two adjournments - first soon after it met for the day and then at noon till 2 pm. When the House met at 2 pm, the BJP and DMK members clashed again and Deputy Speaker Kariya Munda adjourned it for the day.

The story in the Rajya Sabha was no different. As soon as the House reassembled at 2 pm, BJP members rushed to the well and raised slogans, forcing the Chair to adjourn the House for the day.

BJP members led by Purshottam Rupala and Rudra Narayan Pany and AIADMK members raised slogans demanding a statement from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Hazare issue.

In the Lok Sabha, as soon as the Speaker took up the the first listed question, Opposition members were on their feet demanding suspension of Question Hour and discussion on corruption.

The Speaker said there was no rule that allows suspension of the Question Hour. However, as a special case she would allow leaders of parties to put forth their views on corruption and take up the Question Hour thereafter.

She then called Swaraj to speak. As Swaraj made references to several scams allegedly involving some Union ministers, parliamentary affairs minister PK Bansal objected to it contending that the Leader of the Opposition was speaking on a matter which was beyond the ambit of the notice.

Bansal suggested that if the members were keen, the Speaker can have a discussion on corruption under Rule 193, which entails a short duration debate without any provision for voting.

During the Zero Hour, the Speaker asked DMK member TR Baalu to resume discussion on resettlement of Tamils in Sri Lanka. This enraged the BJP members who wanted the discussion on corruption to be taken up immediately.

This angered DMK members who trooped into the well. Amid uproar, the Speaker adjourned the House till 2 PM.

In the Rajya Sabha, Union ministers Rajiv Shukla and V Narayanasamy made repeated assertions that "the Government is ready for a discussion" but the united opposition was in no mood to listen and raised the pitch of their slogans.

Amid din, Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan adjourned the House till Wednesday.

First Published: Aug 23, 2011 16:36 IST