Cong, BJP talk but Parliament logjam won't end this week
The standoff between Opposition and government over the CAG report on coal block allocation resulted in the wastage of the third consecutive day of Parliament on Thursday as BJP was unrelenting on its demand for resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha saw the repeat of scenes witnessed during the past three days, with Opposition members shouting slogans and storming the Well to press their demand, which the ruling side rejected.
No business could be transacted in either House as there were repeated adjournments, before the final one at 2pm for the day.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi asked her MPs not to be defensive and to attack the Opposition.
"We don't need to be defensive. It is wrong. We must attack. They (the BJP) cannot take people for granted."
Parliamentary Affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said talks to end the stalemate were not possible before Monday.
He said a week is likely to be lost due to disruption as "I am told that tomorrow also the Houses will not function."
"Do you think the answer to break the deadlock is to demand the resignation (of the Prime Minister)? They are not moving forward. Today we had invited them for talks. But they are probably not willing to talk. Perhaps they will be ready to talk on Monday," he told reporters outside Parliament House.
He was asked about the efforts to break the deadlock.
Bansal said several bills were stuck due to adjournments. "The Whistleblowers' Bill is pending in Rajya Sabha while the Chemical Weapons Convention Bill is stuck in Lok Sabha. There are some important bills of HRD Ministry which we want to bring."
Leader of the Lok Sabha and home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said he will "certainly speak" with Leader of the Opposition to end the deadlock.
"So far their stand is that they want to stall the House. But the government is prepared to discuss at length...unless the House starts, how can you discuss," he said.
Shinde pointed that even the Prime Minister has publicly said that he was prepared to discuss the CAG report on coal block allocation on the floor of the House.
Speaker Meira Kumar said she wanted to hold an all-party meeting to end the stalemate but the Opposition had "difficulty" attending it and they requested her to hold the talks later.
"I am trying to run the House but there seems to be a stalemate. Let's see when we can get over it," she said.
Members of BJP, which has said it will not stop its protests till the Prime Minister resigns, spearheaded the slogan-shouting in both the Houses.
AIADMK members joined BJP in the demand in both the Houses. In the Lok Sabha, they trooped into the Well.
Interestingly in the Rajya Sabha, JD-U member Sabir Ali, whose party has been favouring a debate on the issue instead of disruptions, also trooped into the Well with BJP members and shouted slogans.
He had on Wednesday told reporters outside Parliament that the issue should be discussed in Parliament as public money is involved in the running of the House.
Other members of JD-U -- N K Singh and Shivanand Tiwari --remained seated when the BJP members raised slogans like "Yeh jo Congress ke chehre pe laali hai, Koyale ki dalali hai (The glow on the face of Congress is because of brokership in coal block allocation)."
Congress members countered the Opposition's slogan of 'Pradhan Mantri Istifa Do (Prime Minister Resign)' by shouting Pradhan Mantri Zindabad (Hail the Prime Minister).
The Rajya Sabha saw three adjournments till 2pm, while there were two adjournments in the Lok Sabha. When uproar continued at 2 PM, the Houses were adjourned till Friday.