Rajya Sabha deputy chair expresses anguish over members’ stance

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New Delhi, March 16 (IANS) Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien on Wednesday expressed his displeasure and anguish over display of what he said was lack of confidence in the chair by some members of the upper house.

“If you do not have confidence in me… if I cannot call a person to speak, why am I sitting here?” a visibly exasperated Kurien said after members from various parties, including the Samajwadi Party and the Trinamool Congress, raised objections when Kurien called CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury to speak on the Aadhaar Bill.

TMC’s Derek O’Brien questioned as to how the time allotted for the principal opposition Congress in the house was passed on to the Communist Party of India-Marxist members.

“Is it because of any deal?” Derek O’Brien asked and was countered strongly by Yechury and other Left members.

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“I cannot take these insults,” Yechury said.

Earlier, Yechury and other opposition members like Naresh Agrawal of the Samajwadi Party objected to the government move to call the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016, a “money bill”.

A piece of legislation declared as a “money bill” can be debated and discussed in the Rajya Sabha but not rejected by it. If the upper house votes amendments to it, but the Lok Sabha rejects these, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both the houses in its original form.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha, defended the status and said the Lok Sabha speaker’s ruling on the issue was binding on all.

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The Aadhaar Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 11 with a voice vote after a brief debate.

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