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Poll bribery: Opposition disrupts Parliament
rediff.com Newsdesk |
December 21, 2004 15:06 IST
The Election Commission's decision to file a first information report against Rashtriya Janata Dal chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad -- who allegedly violated the model code of conduct by distributing money to some dalit women -- has given fresh fodder to the opposition.
Both Houses of Parliament on Tuesday witnessed acrimonious scenes over the issue.
Responding after members from both sides had spoken, Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee rejected the opposition's demand for an explanation by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"Neither the prime minister nor anyone else has to decide about it. The question of collective responsibility does not arise.
"The matter is within the purview of the Election Commission. Let Parliament not interfere in its functioning," he said adding the EC has not yet conclusively found anyone guilty.
National Democratic Alliance chairman Atal Bihari Vajpayee said Prasad distributed hundred rupee notes not for removing poverty but with the aim of winning the forthcoming assembly polls.
"What is the use of the model code of conduct when it is not adhered to? The minister is not even ashamed and is openly saying he has distributed money," Vajpayee said adding, "Law are in place but morality has its own place.
"The Leader of the House has let us down with his response. We still have some hope from the prime minister," Vajpayee said.
Later amidst noisy scenes NDA members walked out of the House.
The scene was repeated in the Rajya Sabha.
The opposition members, who had raised the issue on Monday also, wanted to know from the government if the matter would be referred to Parliament's Ethics Committee, as Lalu Prasad violated the model code of conduct as a minister and Member of Parliament.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said it was appropriate to await the Rashtriya Janata Dal president's response to the EC's show cause notice, for which he has time till December 24. The government would not be able say anything in the House until Lalu Prasad responds.
Not satisfied with this response, the opposition walked out.
(With inputs from PTI)