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Monsoon session: Govt says Oppn running away from debate in House

After the unrelenting opposition stalled both Houses of Parliament for the fourth consecutive day on Friday, the Narendra Modi government on hit out at the Congress for "running away from a debate".

india Updated: Jul 24, 2015 17:12 IST
BJP,Congress,Monsoon session
Rajya Sabha proceedings during monsoon session in New Delhi on Thursday. (PTI Photo)

After the unrelenting opposition stalled both Houses of Parliament for the fourth consecutive day on Friday, the Narendra Modi government on hit out at the Congress for "running away from a debate".

Proceedings in Parliament in the first week of the monsoon session were completely washed out with both Houses adjourning repeatedly, and Lok Sabha adjourned within minutes of it convening, without transacting any business as the deadlock between the opposition and the ruling party persisted over issues like the Lalit Modi controversy and the Vyapam scam.

The opposition, led by the Congress, remained adament on its demand for the resignation of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister for allegedly helping controversial former IPL chief Lalit Modi acquire British documents and of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the Vyapam admission and recruitment scam.

"It is ironic that the Congress is running away from the debate. Even after the chair allowed for a discussion and we accepted it, they (Congress parliamentarians) ran away from the debate. On Thursday, Rahul Gandhi made a statement outside Parliament and ran away. They are the reason for the logjam in parliament," said minister of state for parliamentary affairs Prakash Javedkar.

"When they were in power, they ran away from discussions. Even now, they are running away from discussions," he told reporters outside Parliament.

Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati reflected the opposition's stance when she said that Swaraj, Raje and Chouhan must quit before they come to the table.

"The opposition wants the resignations first and only then a debate can happen," told the media outside Parliament.

The Congress too is sticking to its stand of 'resignations first and discussions later', even though the party is hampered by differences in opposition ranks.

Earlier in the day, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmakers staged a demonstration outside Parliament demanding that the Congress should let the House function smoothly. They sat on a protest near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi holding placards which said: 'Save democracy, let Parliament function.'

The protesting MPs also demanded the resignation of chief minister of Uttarakhand over a liquor licence scam, as a counter to opposition demands for the removal of its leaders.

In Lok Sabha, the opposition's slogan-shouting and counter-sloganeering by the BJP members led to the House being adjourned for the day, minutes after it had assembled at 11am. Congress members, waving placards, trooped into the Well just as the Question Hour was taken up.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan angrily said, "You don't want to raise issues... You don't want to take part in the proceedings."

She then adjourned the House for the day within five minutes after it had assembled.

No business has been transacted since the session began on July 21, with both Houses witnessing adjournments after adjournments following sloganeering and verbal exchanges between the ruling and opposition sides.

Even the papers listed for the day in Lok Sabha were not tabled as scheduled at noon every day. Two bills -- the Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, were also listed for consideration and passage.

In Rajya Sabha, heated exchanges between treasury benches and the Congress forced its adjournment twice, before it was adjourned for the day.

Congress and BJP members clashed after leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad blamed the ruling party of being a "stumbling block" in the functioning of Parliament.

Reacting to Azad, members from the treasury benches led by union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Piyush Goyal blamed opposition for the stalemate, provoking the Congress members who immediately moved into the aisles raising slogans.

All through, the ruling side continued to shout back at the opposition leaders, prompting Kurien to remark "Why is treasury benches creating problem?"

Following this, Azad said "It is the ruling party which has become stumbling block (in the functioning of House)."

Sensing trouble, deputy chairman PJ Kurien adjourned the House till 12pm for the first time.

Earlier, Congress' Pramod Tiwari wanted to know about the fate of the notice he had given under Rule 267 seeking suspension of business to discuss alleged corruption in Rajasthan and Swaraj for allegedly trying to help "fugitive" Lalit Modi. He sought to know if the government has decided that both the leaders, who are "in the dock", will resign, provoking BJP members to attack Tiwari.

Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal-United said it was "unprecedented" that the ruling party members have sat on a dharna.

"Ruling parties, all over the world, have never sat on dharna... Who are they asking (for help)? Is it the almighty," he said mockingly.

When the Upper House resumed after the first adjournment for Question Hour, similar unruly scenes were witnessed and chairman Hamid Ansari's attempts to put the House in order failed as an unrelenting Congress continued their vociferous protests.

Congress deputy leader Anand Sharma alleged that the attitude of "those who used to talk big about corruption has changed after coming to power", while his party colleague Satyavrat Chaturvedi said the opposition has been raising "a matter of importance and a fundamental question".

Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also shouted something which could not be heard in the din. As the ruckus continued, the chair adjourned the House till 2.30pm.

Similar situation prevailed when the House resumed its sitting, with Congress members again trooping in to the Well, raising slogans demanding the resignation of Swaraj.

Despite repeated pleas by the deputy chairman to allow the Private Members' business to be taken up, Congress members remained unrelenting, following which the House was adjourned till Monday.

Amidst the din, the Upper House adopted by a voice vote a motion for withdrawal of the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2015, which was moved by leader of the House and finance minister Arun Jaitley.

First Published: Jul 24, 2015 10:46 IST