Thursday, June 20, 2024

Parliament proceedings stalled again


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NEW DELHI: Parliament didn’t function for the third consecutive day of its winter session Thursday despite peace being in sight after the government and opposition agreed to a debate on rising prices – but without a vote.

The government also bought peace with the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after agreeing to an adjournment motion by L.K. Advani on the black money issue. The discussion is likely to take place in the coming days.

Despite this both houses of parliament were adjourned for the day without transacting any business after protests over rising inflation and the demand for a separate Telangana state.

The BJP blamed the Congress for the stalemate. Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj pointed out that it was the Congress members from the Telangana region who created the ruckus leading to the adjournment of the house for the day.

“It doesn’t seem the Congress wants parliament to function. They lack floor coordination. It was failing to run the house and controling its MPs,” Sushma Swaraj said.

She was speaking to reporters after Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar admitted an adjournment motion on rising prices by the Left parties, who have given up their demand for a vote, which could have meant a censure for the government.

But vociferous protests by MPs from the Telangana region didn’t allow the debate to take place. Deputy Speaker Karia Munda, who was presiding at the time, called it a day to meet again on Friday morning.

Earlier, protests over rising prices and the Telangana issue led to the suspension of the question hour in both houses, with opposition MPs raising slogans and gathering near the podium of the presiding officers before walking out.

In the Lok Sabha, trouble began as soon as Meira Kumar called the question hour. MPs from the Andhra region, including from the Congress, were on their feet, flashing placards demanding a separate Telangana.

Seeking introduction of the Telangana bill in this session, Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) members led by K. Chandrashekhar Rao and Vijayashanti gathered near the speaker and shouted slogans. They were supported by Congress members from the region.

Meira Kumar adjourned the house till noon but the protests continued when it reassembled, this time with Samajwadi Party (SP) members shouting slogans protesting rising prices and highlighting the government’s alleged failure in curbing inflation. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MPs also demanded a debate on rising prices under the rule that entails voting.

Amid the din, Meira Kumar announced that rules didn’t permit her to consider the adjournment motions on “unprecedented rise in prices of essential commodities” moved by the SP. However, she admitted a Left-backed adjournment motion on price rise under rule 193 that doesn’t entail voting. Her announcement didn’t bring peace and the Lok Sabha was again adjourned within five minutes of its resumption at 12 noon.

When the house met at 2 p.m. to take up the inflation debate, TRS and Congress members again created a ruckus. Sushma Swaraj attempted to play the peacemaker. “Let’s debate the rising prices and we will take up the Telangana issue later,” Sushma Swaraj pleaded before the protesting TRS and Congress MPs, but they didn’t relent, forcing the adjournment of the house.

The Rajya Sabha was also adjourned for the day following three disruptions caused by the opposition’s demand for a discussion on price rise under a rule that entails voting.

The issue had been raised by BSP, Left and Janata Dal-United members soon after the house met for the day in the morning.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V. Narayanasamy said the government was ready for a short duration discussion on price rise and the debate could start right away.

Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan said that the notices served for a discussion were under consideration but the members did not relent.

As the members did not resume their seats and continued to press their demand, the house was adjourned for the day. (IANS)


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