Opposition mulling writing to RS Chairman

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New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) With Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu blaming them for the ruckus inside the House, which was adjourned for the fourth day in a row, the opposition parties complain that they are being denied their “rightful space” and are planning to write to the Chairman on the issue.

Leaders of opposition parties, prominently the Congress and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) among others, are mulling sending a letter to Naidu, similar to the one written to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan when she had refused to take up the no-trust motion notice given by the opposition during the Budget session, sources said.

After the upper House was adjourned for the day, TMC leader Derek O’Brien told reporters that TMC and other like-minded parties won’t allow Parliament to become a “back garden” of the BJP.

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The opposition move came after BJP President Amit Shah was scheduled to initiate a short-duration discussion on the recent increase in MSP for Kharif crops and challenges in agriculture. As initiator of the debate, Shah could get the maximum time for speaking, that is, around 25 minutes while other members could get five to six minutes each.

“All the Bills are the government business. Now even notices for short-duration discussions being admitted are that of the ruling party members, not ours. What is this?” the TMC leader said.

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma had expressed similar sentiments on Monday, alleging that government was not sincere about issues that the opposition wants to raise.

“Parliament cannot be run only for government business. No parliament can function by excluding issues of opposition parties,” he said.

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“(For the) first time, the bills, calling attention motion, short duration discussion are from the ruling side,” he had said, calling the situation as “unprecedented”.

The opposition also objected to Amit Shah being allowed by Naidu to resume his speech on the Assam NRC issue on Wednesday that he could not complete due to ruckus the previous day. This was “unusual”, they said.

TMC leader Sukhendu Shekhar Roy cited a rule of the conduct of the upper House that said a member cannot speak twice on the same issue, unless with the permission of the Chair.

Shah’s remarks on Tuesday that “you (Congress) did not have the courage, but we have it to implement the NRC as per Assam Accord of 1985”, had infuriated the Congress and caused an adjournment of the House.

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On Wednesday, Anand Sharma had asked Chairman Naidu to expunge Shah’s remarks “against former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and other subsequent Prime Ministers”.

On Thursday, Naidu got back and told the House that he did not find anything objectionable in Shah’s remarks and was closing the matter.

According to sources, the opposition also intends to raise the issue of Rajya Sabah TV being allegedly used to portray opposition in bad light and promote the viewpoint of the ruling BJP.



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