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|December 1, 1999||
Uproar over 'secret' WTO deal in Parliament
The Lok Sabha was adjourned about twenty minutes before the lunch break amid an uproar following demands by members for a statement by the prime minister about an alleged 'clandestine agreement' with the United States before the start of the meeting of the World Trade Organisation.
Repeated pleas by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be informed as soon as his meeting with the visiting Vietnamese prime minister ended, fell on deaf ears with many members saying that nothing could be more important than this.
Members of the Left parties, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Samajwadi Party and the Republican Party of India marched into the well, shouting slogans and ignoring directions of deputy speaker P M Sayeed to return to their seats.
Failing to restore order, he adjourned the house till 1400 hrs.
The issue was raised by Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and was taken up by several other members, who referred to a report in a daily in the capital about the 'clandestine agreement' under pressure from the United States, and alleged that the government had failed to take Parliament into confidence.
wto - adjourned two ls both mr mahajan and water resources minister c.P. Thakur told the members that their sentiments would be conveyed to the prime minister. Mr thakur also said nothing was being done as alleged by the members. However, this did not satisfy the agitated members. Raising the issue, mr singh said that demonstrations outside the meeting venue in seattle had forced adjournment of the start by almost five hours, showing how people in developing countries were agitated by the attempts by the united states to 'bully' other countries. He said there were attempts to force these countries to link trade with environmental and fertiliser subsidy issues, which would go against the poor in the country. He wanted the government to take a strong stand on these issues. Samajwadi party leader mulayalam singh yadav said the moves by the united states will lead to price rise in the country. He also alleged that the us was interfering in internal national and political issues. He warned against 'bowing before the us' as that would harm the nation. Mr priya ranjan das munshi (congress) said the government should ascertain from commerce and industry minister murasoli maran how india had agreed to adding two more items on the agenda, and should then make a statement. Propriety demanded that parliament should have been taken into confidence, and so the prime minister must personally come and make a statement, he said. More uni bbn sd vp1332 mumbai 13 33 _ wto - adjourned three last ls mr s. Jaipal reddy (congress) said that the daily newspaper in its report had said that an 'underhand understanding' had been arrived at with the us on information technology and economic commerce, without insisting on a quid pro quo as promised earlier. He also said that mr maran in television interviews in the us had shown that the government was very weak on these subjects, and the member therefore wanted categorical assurances from the government. Mr basudeo acharya (cpi-m) asked how the government had 'surrendered' to the us and insisted on parliament being taken into confidence. Members marched into the well when mr thakur sought to speak. Mr sayeed agreed that the issue was serious but insisting that he would ask the government to respond only if members went back to their seats. But when he said he would ask the parliamentary affairs minister to react, members insisted that they wanted mr vajpayee to come to the house. Mr somnath chatterjee (cpi-m) said the issue could have serious implications. He said the opposition had cooperated and even sent members in the delegation, but the reports in the newspapers were 'very disquieting'. This was not the way to treat the house. Mr p. H. Pandiyan (aiadmk) said that parliament 'cannot be treated as the hand-maiden of the executive'. If the government had taken any decisions, parliament should have been informed. When the slogan-shouting and uproar continued, mr sayeed adjourned the house. Uni bbn sd vp1345 mumbai 13 47 _ Business
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