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Advani complains against Speaker

He speaks to PM against the conduct of the House proceedings by the Speaker amid din, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2006 21:48 IST

Leader of Opposition LK Advani has complained to PM Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee against the conduct of the House proceedings by Speaker Somnath Chatterjee amid din and "denying" the Opposition space to raise the issue of party chief Rajnath Singh's arrest in West Bengal.

Addressing the BJP parliamentary party, Advani said he took up the issue when the two leaders told him that the government wanted the cooperation of the Opposition in the smooth conduct of Parliament.

Advani said, "I told them that the Opposition wanted the Houses to function smoothly and never stood in the way of passage of important bills and debates. But it was unacceptable that the Opposition should be denied any say on urgent issue of public importance and proceedings allowed amid din, violating rules."

Advani met the PM at a social get-together on Monday evening and spoke to Mukherjee over phone.

BJP's deputy leader VK Malhotra said, "As requested by the Prime Minister, the BJP will allow the House to function. But NDA leaders will meet on Wednesday to discuss next moves over the Speaker's behaviour."

He quoted Advani as telling the BJP MPs that he had told the PM that the Opposition was upset that the chair and the government were seen as acting in unison against them.

The BJP had charged a day earlier that the Speaker and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi were acting in tandem against the Opposition.

"He (Advani) told the Prime Minister that the Opposition wants discussions to go on but the Speaker's behaviour is inappropriate and unacceptable and creates hurdles in the smooth running of the House instead," Malhotra said.

Advani told the BJPs that "the government has no answer to their questions on issues ranging from China's claim on Arunachal Pradesh, Shibu Soren and other tainted Ministers and, now, the Singur issue."

BJP chief Rajnath Singh, whose arrest in Singur triggered uproar in Parliament, said that he would visit West Bengal again. "We are opposed to acquisition of farm land. Farmers' rights have to be protected," he said.

Malhotra said his party was upset with Chatterjee because he allowed House business to function amid the din over the arrest of party Chief Rajnath Singh in West Bengal. He also accused Dasmunsi, of violating rules by walking down to the Speaker for one-on-one discussions.

"This is injustice to the Opposition. It is violative of rules to carry on House business amid din," Malhotra said. "This is not the way to run the House. And as far as the Parliamentary Affairs Minister is concerned, we believe etiquette applies to everybody in the House alike."

He said the BJP walked out of the House on Monday for not being allowed to raise its objections over the arrest of Rajnath near Singur.

During the Monsoon Session, the BJP was upset with the Speaker for going ahead with the House proceedings on a day when the party had stayed away from the House.

Former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee also wrote a letter to him, saying that the chair should inspire confidence by impartial conduct.

The stand-off ended after an agreement between government and NDA, which saw External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee rejecting "aspersions" on the Left veteran's impartiality and Leader of Opposition LK Advani defending Vajpayee.

First Published: Dec 05, 2006 21:08 IST