Budget session highlights: Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day after uproar over PNB fraud, other issues
The second day of the second part of budget session of Parliament witnessed frequent adjournments as the Congress-led Opposition staged protests in both the houses over a fraud at the Punjab National Bank. Here are the highlights.india Updated: Mar 06, 2018 15:43 IST
Both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned for the day after repeated adjournments following uproar by Opposition members who assembled on the wells of the houses with placards over a fraud at the Punjab National Bank.
Amid the din in the Lok Sabha, parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar urged the Opposition members to take their seats and said if the House ran peacefully, everyone could raise their issues.
On Monday, when the second part of the budget session resumed, a Congress-led Opposition targeted the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Parliament for PNB case involving billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and associates.
Here are the highlights:
3.34pm: Deputy chairman adjourns Rajya Sabha till 11am on Wednesday as opposition members continue protest in the Well of the House.
3:31pm: Rajya Sabha resumes to pandemonium.
2:07pm: Deputy chairman PJ Kurien adjourns the house till 3.30pm amid uproar.
2:01pm: Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Vijay Goel pleads Opposition members to go back to their seats, saying the government is ready for discussion as uproar continues over various issues.
1:20pm: Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge gives notice for adjournment motion over PNB Scam.
12:12pm: Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 11am on Wednesday as Opposition members continue uproar over PNB fraud.
12:06pm: Union parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar urges opposition members to go back to their seats to help the House function smoothly. “We are ready for discussions on all issues. The Congress should also be ready for discussion on matter happened during its regime,” he says.
12: 01pm: Lok Sabha resumes. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan continues with proceedings amid slogans by Opposition members over various issues.
11:32am: Congress MPs, including party president Rahul Gandhi, hold protest in Parliament over PNB fraud.
11:31am: Rajya Sabha resumes, only to be adjourned till 2pm. “The way things are happening I am not happy,” Naidu says.
11:12am: Union parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar says the government is ready to hold discussion on the questions the Opposition is raising about the bank in both the houses. The Opposition is invited for a structural debate and to stop ruckus they are creating inside and outside the Parliament, he says.
11:05am: “This is parliament, not a bazaar. Don’t show placards. We are making ourselves a laughing stock,” Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu says before adjourning the House till 11.30 am amid ruckus.
11:02am: As Lok Sabha resumes, members from Andhra Pradesh walk into the Well of the House with placards demanding special status for the state. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourns the House till 12noon.
10:08am: A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliamentary party meeting is underway in Delhi.
Tug of war
The Monday disruption in Parliament meant no work got done. Opposition parties wanted the government to reveal the whereabouts of Nirav Modi, who, along with his associates, is accused of defrauding the state-owned PNB to the tune of around Rs 12,000 crore.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the House.
The question hour was washed out in the Lok Sabha and the Opposition was unrelenting when the House met again at noon. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan then adjourned the Lok Sabha for the day.
After Rajya Sabha resumed work at 2pm following two brief adjournments in the morning, deputy chairman PJ Kurien offered a a short duration to discuss frauds in public sector banks if the members wanted it, but Opposition members continued to shout slogans. Kurien then adjourned the House for the day.
Outside Parliament, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad addressed a press conference on a decision taken by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on May 16, 2014, days before it was voted out of power.
That decision allowed so-called star trading houses and premier trading houses to import gold and sell it in the local market. Previously, they were only allowed to import gold on the condition that they would work on it and export the value added product. Prasad alleged that Gitanjali Gems, promoted by Mehul Choksi, who has been named as Nirav Modi’s associate in the fraud, was a beneficiary.
The minister added that the policy was scrapped a few months later by the NDA.
In a series of tweets, BJP president Amit Shah said non-performing assets (NPAs) on the books of banks were the “biggest liability” that the NDA government inherited.
“NPA crisis is UPA’s legacy and biggest scam of the UPA. Congress in power granted loan out of common man’s bank deposit and did not show it in bank’s balance sheet. NPA is the biggest liability that Modi government inherited from the UPA,” Shah said in a tweet in Hindi.
The fraud at PNB wasn’t the only issue that disrupted Parliament, though. Telugu Desam Party MPs resorted to slogan shouting in the two houses, demanding special category status for Andhra Pradesh. The AIADMK and the DMK — the two rival parties in Tamil Nadu — also came together to demand implementation of the court order on constitution of Cauvery Water Management Board.