Uproar in Parliament over ordinance 'shielding' Sonia
Parliament was adjourned briefly on Wednesday after Samajwadi Party members created an uproar, protesting the reported move by the government to issue an ordinance that would exempt some MPs, including Sonia Gandhi, from being disqualified for holding offices of profit.
As soon as the Lok Sabha met, Samajwadi Party members ran to the speaker waving copies of a newspaper that carried the report. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members were also on their feet.
They alleged that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was trying to shield prominent MPs like Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Karan Singh from being disqualified as parliament members for holding offices of profit.
The Indian Express reported that the UPA was planning to bring in an ordinance to amend the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification Act, 1959) to exempt some offices from the category, including that of National Advisory Council chairperson (Sonia Gandhi) and Indian Council of Cultural Relations chairperson (Karan Singh) besides state development boards and textile boards.
Speaker Somnath Chatterjee immediately adjourned the house for 15 minutes till 11.15 am
But when the house reassembled, the Samajwadi MPs continued to shout slogans and were joined by BJP members.
The BJP MPs also waved placards and demanding the expulsion of Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, whom the party accuses of being close to the Congress.
After about three minutes, Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, who was in the chair, adjourned the house till 1 pm.
The Rajya Sabha too witnessed commotion with Samajwadi Party and BJP members accusing the government of trying to protect Sonia Gandhi. The opposition raised slogans like "Jaya Bachchan ko wapas lao" (Bring back Jaya Bachchan).
Rajya Sabha Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat tried to pacify the members but as the din continued, he adjourned the house for 15 minutes till 11.30 am.
The government's reported move comes on the heels of the disqualification of Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan for being chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Council while being in the Rajya Sabha.
Bachchan said she was being targeted by the Congress and her post was honorary and not an office of profit.
According to the Express, besides Sonia Gandhi and Karan Singh, there were complaints against 44 MPs with President APJ Abdul Kalam.