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Uproar over leakage, both Houses adjourn briefly

The Opposition demands resignation and an apology from the PM for the leak of the Pathak report in Iraqi oil scam.

india Updated: Aug 07, 2006 12:27 IST

The issue of leakage of the Pathak Committee report led to an opposition uproar in Parliament on Monday leading to brief adjournment of both the Houses, minutes after they assembled for the day.

Trouble began from the word go in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha with agitated opposition members storming the well demanding resignation and an apology from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, holding him responsible for the leak of the report that indicted former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh and his son Jagat.

Natwar, a member of the Rajya Sabha, who had given privilege notice against the Prime Minister over the leak, kept silent but opposition members led by BJP's Yashwant Sinha demanded that the issue be taken up immediately.

He was supported by members of Samajwadi Party,Telugu Desam and AIADMK, which was resisted by Congress members that led to noisy scenes.

In between, Minister of State for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury got up to reply to a starred question by BK Hariprasad but nothing was heard in the din.

With his appeals for calm falling on deaf ears, Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat adjourned the House till 1200 hrs when the breach of privilege issue would again come up.

Shortly after the Lok Sabha met for the day, BJP-led opposition members were on their feet protesting the leakage of the Pathak report and raised slogans demanding resignation and apology from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

When they pressed for their privilege notice against Prime Minister be taken up immediately, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said "the matter is under my consideration."

BJP's deputy leader VK Malhotra pointed out that the Speaker himself had taken strong objection to the leakage of the report when the issue was raised on Friday.

"That has nothing to do with the breach of privilege," the Speaker responded sharply.

Opposition members led by BJP then stormed the well shouting slogans.
Repeated efforts by Chatterjee to restore order proved futile.

Chatterjee said he had observed on Friday that he resented the leakage and had hoped that an enquiry would be carried out by the Government.

"It is a question of your prestige," BJP leader Harin Pathak said to which the Speaker said he would look after his prestige.

"Sonia bachaya, Natwar duboya (Sonia Gandhi saved, Natwar Singh dumped)" were the slogans raised by the opposition.

The Speaker said in the last 37 years that he has been a member of this House, this was the first time that the members are pressing for a discussion on a notice sent at 10 AM and when the Speaker has already said the matter was under his consideration.

Some members from the treasury benches also shouted counter slogans. As the din continued, the Speaker adjourned the House till 1145 hrs.

First Published: Aug 07, 2006 10:26 IST