New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) The Rajya Sabha was disrupted on Monday as the Congress raised the issue of an alleged mismanagement in the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) during the tenure of Narendra Modi as the chief minister, and the BJP termed it an attempt to divert attention from the AgustaWestland payoffs issue, leading to repeated adjournments.
Trinamool Congress member Sukhendu Sekhar Roy asked who was the beneficiary in the AgustaWestland bribery, and was even banished from the house for the day as he disrupted question hour repeatedly.
The government, meanwhile, said the AgustaWestland issue will be taken up for discussion on Wednesday.
Between repeated adjournments, Chairman M. Hamid Ansari invoked a rule against Trinamool Congress member Roy, and banished him from entering the house for the day.
Following this, Trinamool members walked out of the house in protest. Floor leader Derek O’Brien told IANS that all members of the party would stay away from the house proceedings through Monday.
“In solidarity with Sukhendu, we have decided to stay away from the house for the day,” O’Brien said.
The ruckus started as soon as the Rajya Sabha met and Congress members raised the GSPC issue, demanding a discussion on the latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General listing irregularities in GSPC’s Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin gas project.
Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said the notice given by the Congress on the issue was under consideration of Chairman Ansari.
Then Trinamool’s Roy raised the AgustaWestland issue and asked who the bribe-taker was.
“Defence minister needs to give a statement on who took bribe in the AgustaWestland deal,” Roy said, urging Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who was present, to speak on the issue.
“Who is Gandhi? Who is AP?” Roy asked, citing from media reports quoting an Italian court ruling on the issue.
Congress members trooped near the chairman’s podium and started shouting slogans, demanding a debate on the GSPC.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the issue could not be discussed in the upper house as it was a state issue.
“This is a diversionary tactic, to take away attention from AgustaWestland and create ruckus through such non-issues,” said the minister.
Kurien asked the Congress members to return to their seats as the notice given by them was under consideration of the chair.
At 11.30 a.m., the situation remained the same. Naqvi asked the Congress members to prepare themsleves for discussion on the AgustaWestland issue on Wednesday.
“We agree with what Sukhendu ji is saying. We will discuss AgustaWestland on Wednesday,” Naqvi said.
“Congress should do its homework because diversionary tactics will not work,” he said.
Congress members continued raising slogans demanding clarification from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, shouting “Pradhan Mantri jawab do, jawab do”, and the house was adjourned till 12 noon.
When the Rajya Sabha met for the question hour, the protests continued, and within minutes the house was adjourned for half an hour, till 12.32 p.m., then till 2 p.m., and then again till 3 p.m.