Parliament logjam continues, Congress gives notice of No-Confidence motion

New Delhi, March 23, 2018 (TMC Desk) Giving a new turn to the political impasse in Parliament, the Congress on Friday gave notice of No-Confidence motion in the Lok Sabha as both the Houses failed to transact any business for the third consecutive week.

“This House expresses no confidence in the Council of Ministers,” read the notice tabled by Mallikarjun Kharge, the Leader of Congress in the Lower House.

Congress sources said the party decided to give the notice for No-Confidence as it felt it was its duty as the main opposition to question the government on its “failure on all fronts” including the issue of corruption and highlight the demand of special category status for Andhra Pradesh.

Already, the TDP and YSR Congress Party have filed notices for no-confidence motion against the government over the issue of special category status for Andhra Pradesh, but they have not been taken up due to continued disruption of the House.

On Friday too, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan could not take up the No-Confidence motion in the din.

Protests started as soon as the House met with members from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the AIADMK trooping near the Speaker’s podium. Congress members protested from their seats over the recent Supreme Court verdict on the SC/ST Act.

The AIADMK and the TRS have been paralysing the House with protests, pressing for their demands for setting of Cauvery Water Management Board and an increase in the reservation quota for jobs in Telangana.

As the din continued, the Speaker adjourned the House till noon.

The scene was no different when it met again, with Mahajan urging the protesting members to return to their seats so that the No-Confidence motion could be taken up.

As the protests continued, Mahajan announced that March 26 will be a holiday on account of Ram Navami, before adjourning the House for the day.

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day amid vociferous protests by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the AIADMK and the Congress on different issues.

Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu urged the government to reach out to the agitating parties and also asked “all sections of the House” to introspect and let the House function.

Soon after the House met, Naidu expressed his anguish over the continued disruption and hoped it would function from Monday as there was a long list of pending Bills before adjourning the proceedings for the day.

“We have a long list of business. I hope the Parliamentary Affairs Minister and the government will also take into confidence the members of different political parties and come to some understanding by Monday. At least the House should run and have all this business,” the Chairman said.

Earlier in the day, Naidu said: “Today (Friday) we are completing three weeks (of logjam). During my long stint in public life, I have seen very few distressing events as the present one. Rajya Sabha, the House of elders, could not discharge the mandated duties for three weeks. As the Chairman, I tried everything that I could but no result.

“All sections of the House need to introspect as to why as the Upper House of Parliament, we have let down the people of the country for three long weeks.”

Naidu said that persisting with disruptions for three weeks had no justification.

He said he had been getting queries from the public as to why the House was not being adjourned sine die.

“Will the next week be any different? I am sad to note that I would not like to hazard any guess. I leave it to the leaders and honourable members of Parliament of all sides to reflect and decide if you are going to change for better… It is for you to rekindle the hope. You have to decide,” the Chairman said.

After the laying of papers, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel listed the details of the pending Bills for passing and discussion next week.

No sooner had the Chairman finished when the TDP, the AIADMK and the Congress members stormed near the Chair shouting slogans and holding placards.

Naidu urged the members to return to their seats but that went unheard.

“What is going on? ‘Ye koi bazar nahi hai, ye Parliament hai’ (This is not a market, this is Parliament). How long you will do it? How will you justify this? People are deeply disturbed,” he said before adjourning the House.

The Upper House has witnessed disruptions over different issues including demands for special status to Andhra Pradesh, setting up of the Cauvery Management Board and the multi-thousand crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud since March 5 when Parliament reassembled for the budget session after recess.

The TDP is demanding special status to Andhra Pradesh while the AIADMK members are asking for constitution of Cauvery Management Board to manage water distribution between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The Congress and other opposition parties are demanding discussion on the PNB fraud under the adjournment motion.

Earlier, both Houses paid tributes to freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev who were hanged on this day in 1931.

The second half of the Budget session started on March 5 and is set to conclude on April 6.

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