Stalemate continues in Parliament, session on verge of washout

New Delhi, April 4, 2018 (TMC Desk) Parliament on Wednesday remained deadlocked for the 20th consecutive day as the TDP, the AIADMK and the Congress including some others stuck to their various demands even as the ruling BJP and others traded charges, blaming each other for the logjam.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day following noisy protests by AIADMK members demanding a Cauvery Management Board while the Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned for a record 11 times due to noisy protests.

Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu and Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien tried their best to conduct the business to get the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2013 passed but failed as the opposition parties stuck to their demand.

The upper house saw an unusual 11 adjournments of which 10 came in the second half between 2 p.m. and 5:13 p.m. as the AIADMK, the TDP, the YSR Congress and other opposition members continued with their agitation in the House.

As the House met at 2 p.m., the government moved the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2013. Kurien, who was in the Chair, sought voice vote on the Bill on which the treasury benches shouted “aye”. However, the agitating members continued with the slogan shouting.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad blamed the government for the disruptions and said the government was running away from discussion on various issues including the demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh, Cauvery water distribution between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, CBSE paper leak and the banking fraud.

“An impression is being created outside that the opposition parties are not allowing the House to function. But it is the ruling party which is running away from the discussion. The entire opposition is for the passage of the pending bills. We also want these bills passed but we are also mandated to raise the issues concerning millions of people.

“I am sorry to say but it is the treasury benches which is not allowing the House to function. See who is disrupting the proceedings. Let the country see,” he said, amid noisy scenes created by the treasury benches.

As Azad was speaking, TDP and AIADMK members rushed towards the Chairman’s podium shouting slogans and holding placards. As the din continued Kurien adjourned the House for half an hour.

As soon as the House reassembled at 2:43 p.m., another adjournment till 3:15 p.m. was announced. At 3:15 p.m., it was again adjourned for 15 minutes.

At 3.30 p.m., as the House was reconvened, Kurien appealed to the members to pass the Bill which he said was “in national interest”.

“Many government programmes would stall if the Bill is not passed. Let’s discuss the Bill,” he said.

Azad said the government was “more interested in its Bill than the interests of the people belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes”.

As members again trooped near the Chair’s podium, Kurein adjourned the House for 15 minutes. The House was then successively adjourned at 3.55 p.m., 4.10 p.m., 4.30 p.m., 4.45 p.m., 4.55 p.m. before being adjourned for the day at 5.13 p.m.

Earlier, in the morning the House was adjourned 20 minutes after it met for the day till by the Chairman amid noisy protest by non-treasury members.

In the morning, the newly elected members from Rajasthan, Odisha, Karnataka, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh took oath of office.

Soon after, members from the TDP, the AIADMK, the Congress and others trooped near the Chairman’s podium shouting slogans such as ‘Save Andhra Pradesh’, ‘Narendra Modi Dalit Virodhi’ and ‘We demand Cauvery board’.

Naidu urged the agitating members to raise their issues after laying down of the paper on the table of the House. But in vain.

The Congress members were protesting against the government over a Supreme Court order diluting the provisions of The SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. They accused the government of being anti-Dalit.

The AIADMK and DMK members sought the immediate constitution of a Cauvery Water Management Board for division of the river water between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Members of the TDP held placards demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh.

At one point of time, Naidu expressed deep anguish over the ongoing protests and dubbed it “murder of democracy”.

“You are testing the patience of the people of the country. This is not good… this is not democracy. This is stifling democracy. This is in fact murdering democracy,” Naidu said.

The Lok Sabha saw noisy protests by AIADMK members demanding a Cauvery Management Board.

The AIADMK members, who forced an adjournment when the House met at 11 a.m., again came to the podium as the Lok Sabha met at noon raising slogans in support of their demand. They held placards.

TDP members were on their seat demanding special category status for Andhra Pradesh.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said she had received notices of no-trust motion but unless the House was in order she would not be able count the number of members supporting it.

“They have to stand at their designated places,” she said.

As the noisy scenes continued, the Speaker adjourned the Lok Sabha for the day.

This is the last week of the Budget Session that began on January 29 and went into a recess on February 9. The session resumed on March 5 and will conclude on April 6 (Friday).

The session has witnessed very little business due to continuous disruption over various demands by opposition and other parties.

Meanwhile, leaders of 13 opposition parties met and urged the government and the presiding officers of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to allow discussion on issues being raised by them, saying they were willing to extend the Budget Session to pass the government’s legislative agenda.

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