Parliament adjourned sine die, Ram temple issue rocks Rajya Sabha (Roundup)

New Delhi, Dec 23 (IANS) Parliament’s winter session ended on Wednesday with both the houses adjourned sine die amid opposition uproar over various issues including the Ram temple construction in Ayodhya and alleged financial irregularities in Delhi’s cricket board.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari asked members to “introspect” over the state of affairs in the house. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan hoped the parliamentarians would “take a conscious decision to ensure less disruptions”.

The upper house, however, on Wednesday passed the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill, the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill and Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill without discussion.

The Rajya Sabha’s proceedings were briefly disrupted twice in the pre-lunch session over the issues of a Ram temple in Ayodhya and the ongoing Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) row before taking up the three bills for passing.

Soon after the upper house met for the day, Janata Dal-United member K.C. Tyagi raised the issue of stones being transported and carved for constructing the proposed Ram temple at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.

“A similar situation (to what prevailed earlier) is being created in Ayodhya once again. Tension is being incited,” Tyagi said.

Members of the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress too supported him.

BSP leader Mayawati accused the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of trying to derive political mileage by again raking up the Ram temple issue.

“There should not be anything that is in contempt of the Supreme Court. It’s the responsibility of the Uttar Pradesh government to maintain law and order,” she said.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi replied, saying stones are being polished since 1990, and “the site is around one-and-a-half km from the disputed site. Second, both the government and the BJP firmly believe the court’s decision should be respected and we will respect it”.

“There is no restriction on carving of stones; it does not mean the Ram temple is being constructed,” he said.

However, members of the Congress and SP trooped near the chairman’s podium and raised anti-government slogans.

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien adjourned the house for 10 minutes.

As the house reassembled at 11.34 a.m., Congress members again trooped near the chairman’s podium to demand Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s resignation over the DDCA issue.

Chairman Hamid Ansari then adjourned the house till 1 p.m.

Before adjourning the house sine die, Ansari in his valedictory address, asked members to “desist from approaches and practices that demean the stature of the Rajya Sabha, and also urged them to “make the fullest possible use of the instrumentalities of accountability and discussion available to them under the Rules of Procedure”.

In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan hoped that parliamentarians will “take a conscious decision to ensure less disruptions” as she adjourned the house sine die at the end of the winter session of parliament that began on November 26.

“I hope that in the new year we will take a conscious decision to ensure less disruptions and more debates in the house while using all available parliamentary instruments to forcefully register our dissent and disagreement, if any,” she said.

Earlier in the day, the Speaker assured Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge that she will expunge two words from her remarks made on Tuesday about members raising slogans near the Speaker’s podium.

Kharge said the remarks which “do not have any national interest, they have only vested interest” were about the Congress party and had caused hurt.

The Speaker said the protesting members should also think others can also feel hurt. Mahajan, however, said she did not name any party. “The way the house was being disturbed, it should be reflected upon.”

The Lok Sabha lost a total of 8 hours and 37 minutes due to interruptions followed by forced adjournments. The house later sat for 17 hours and 10 minutes to compensate for the time lost.

Congress members continued to raise slogans against the government during the question hour. They later staged a walk out.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said the Congress members had not allowed question hour to run properly for the past many days.

Naidu said the Speaker was like the mother of the house. ” Today is the last day. I request the Speaker not to take what they said to person because you are like our mother.”

He accused the Congress of being intolerant towards the mandate of the people and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “the most powerful leader in the world now”.

Mahajan adjourned the house sine die.

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