Lok Sabha disrupted again, Rajya Sabha bids farewell to retiring members (Roundup)

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New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) The Lok Sabha saw repeated adjournments and could not take up the no confidence motion once again on Wednesday amid ruckus as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, angry over the disruptions, threatened to adjourn the house sine die midway through the Budget session.

Disruptions in the Lok Sabha started as soon as it met for the day, and within minutes, it was adjourned to meet at 12 p.m. Mahajan tried to conduct the Question Hour, but her efforts went in vain.

“You are wasting everyone’s time. All MPs are saying they want the House to run or end the session… I will have to adjourn the House sine die,” an angry Mahajan said.

When the House met at 12 p.m., the scene was no different, and members from the AIADMK trooped near the Speaker’s podium.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the government was waiting to discuss the no confidence motion and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the opposition also wanted to debate it.

“We are ready for a debate… At least 80 people have stood and supported the no confidence motion, I request the Speaker to take it up…” Kharge said amid the din.

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Mahajan once again expressed her inability to count the number of MPs supporting the around half-a-dozen no confidence notices, and said that in the din she cannot decide if leave can be granted to take it up. She the adjourned the House till Monday.

Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Ananth Kumar, however, ruled out an early end for the Budget session while blaming the Congress and its President Rahul Gandhi for the disruptions in the two Houses.

In the Rajya Sabha order returned briefly for the first time since March 5 as the House assembled to bid farewell to its retiring members.

However, the truce lasted only for the duration of farewell speeches and the members who have been agitating for the last few weeks were again on their feet as soon as the House reassembled after the lunch break.

A majority of the retiring members in their short farewell speeches stressed that there should be more discussion and less disruption in the House. Some even advocated tweaking of the rules of conduct to make the House disruption-free.

The retiring members also recalled their experiences as members of the upper House of Parliament and fondly remembered their associations with various members of the House across party lines.

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Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu appreciated the contribution of women MPs, who constitute only 11.7 per cent of the house’s total membership.

He also rued that disruptions have become a part of “political tactic and the House has often become the theatre of protest politics”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that what happens in the Lok Sabha (disruptions) need not be followed in the upper house.

He said that thanks to disruptions the retiring members missed the opportunity to contribute towards a crucial legislation like the triple talaq bill that was listed to be taken up in the current session.

Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad tried to justify the protests by members in the House saying MPs raise issues of public concern and not of their private concern.

Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury did rake up the “Soorpanakha” jibe made against her by the Prime Minister, saying as an old member of the upper House she had “seen it all from Shah Bano to Shoorpanakha” as Modi looked on.

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, a Congress member who is also retiring, said that earlier the Minister were grilled by the Members but currently the MPs resort to slogan shouting which gives the Ministers a chance to escape tough questions from the MPs.

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However, the ruckus returned to the upper House as soon it was reconvened at 3.40 p.m. and Kurien tried to take up a short duration discussion on banking fraud to be moved by BJP’s Roopa Ganguly and Janata Dal United’s Harivansh.

However, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma objected to it, asking the Chair as to why the notices given by the opposition leaders on the same topic (bank fraud) were not being accepted.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel said that if the members did not want the short duration discussion, then other government business can be taken up.

Meanwhile the AIADMK, TDP and the opposition members trooped near the Chair’s podium. Earlier, AIADMK member A. Navaneethakrishnan said that back in Tamil Nadu, people were asking AIADMK MPs to resign from Parliament since they could not do anything about the Cauvery water issue.

Amid the pandemonium, Kurien adjourned the House till Monday – as Thursday and Friday are holidays.

–IANS

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