Opposition members protesting in the well of the Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Tuesday.(PTI file photo)
Opposition members protesting in the well of the Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Tuesday.(PTI file photo)

Lok Sabha: Congress protests Modi’s attack on Manmohan, govt calls it shameful conduct

Government accuses Congress of holding ‘mock proceedings’ in House after the party protests Prime Minister’s Modi’s attack against Manmohan Singh
By Saubhadra Chatterji | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON DEC 19, 2017 11:23 PM IST

Protests continued to stall business in the Lok Sabha on the third day of the winter session over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks about his predecessor Manmohan Singh, even as vice-president Venkaiah Naidu’s call for inter-party negotiations brought some calm to the upper house.

Noting that two days of the session had already been washed out due to protests, Rajya Sabha chairman Naidu asked the Congress and the BJP government to end the stalemate by “talking to each other”.

During the Gujarat assembly poll campaign, Modi had suggested that Singh and other Congress leaders met Pakistani officials who were trying to influence the election.

Naidu, at an informal meeting leaders from both parties on Tuesday morning, stressed he was “bound by house rules” and asked the two sides to resolve the matter. Sources said that senior representatives of the BJP and Congress – including finance minister Arun Jaitley and former Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad – agreed to work out a solution.

“This is the third day (of protests)... and we are losing important business. So I requested that in the interests of democracy and functioning of the parliamentary system, we should come to an understanding,” Naidu later told the upper house.

Leaders from both the parties met hours later, and it was decided that Jaitley would get back with a possible solution. “We will try to find a solution. It would certainly be a privilege to invite all my colleagues, including the leader of the Opposition (to the negotiating table),” Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha.

However, Congress lawmakers continued to shout slogans in the Lok Sabha, forcing an adjournment for 30 minutes. When proceedings resumed, they trooped into the well of the house over speaker Sumitra Mahajan rejecting party floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s request to speak. Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother, Sonia Gandhi, were present in the house at the time.

Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar slammed the Congress for disrespecting the house. “They entered the well, which is condemnable. They then tried to conduct mock proceedings. One senior Congress leader after another kept speaking, defying the chair,” he said.

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