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BJP rocks Parliament over allotment scam

March 14, 2011 17:42 IST
The Parliament was rocked on Monday with the Bharatiya Janata Party creating an uproar. They were lleging involvement of parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal in a shop allotment scam in Chandigarh, prompting him to dare the opposition to hold any kind of inquiry, including the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Dubbing the charges as 'baseless' and 'a cheap gimmick', Bansal said it was 'an effort to vilify him' and went to the extent of saying that if any charges were proven against him, he would quit Parliament for ever.

Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha saw BJP members raising the issue as soon as the houses met for the day at 11 am, forcing adjournments till noon. The Lok Sabha again adjourned on the issue during the zero hour until 2 pm, amid uproar and clashed between members of BJP and the Samajwadi Party.

While BJP wanted to press the shop allotment issue, the SP members wanted to raise the issue of alleged atrocities against party workers by the Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh. The Rajya Sabha also adjourned again at 2 pm for an hour, amid uproarious scenes.

At one point, the SP members stormed the well and were seen aggressively asking their BJP counterparts to let them have their say.

The saffron party members insisted that leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj be allowed to speak first. After the house adjourned, BJP and SP members engaged in heated exchanges with leaders of other parties intervening and asking them to calm down.

Refusing to be on the backfoot, an emotional Bansal dismissed BJP's claim that it was a report of a magisterial enquiry or one by a commission of inquiry against him. "It was only the internal work of an officer who may have overstepped his responsibility," he said.

Maintaining that he had written letters for allotment of some 8 feet by 8 feet shops allotted to poor street vendors, he asserted, "Make your own enquiry, have your own members in that committee or order a CBI probe. In fact, I too would want a CBI probe to get my name cleared."

The minister maintained that the enquiry 'supposedly' took a year, but no one had approached him for seeking his version which is required under any probe. Alleging that the campaign against him was 'politically motivated', he said that BJP member from Amritsar, Navjyot Singh Sidhu, wanted to shift to Chandigarh in the next Lok Sabha polls.

"Sushmaji, you can also come to Chandigarh, then I will show", he said. Swaraj wanted to respond, but could not as SP members were keen on raising the issue of detention of their leader Akhilesh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh. This led to pandemonium and the house was adjourned until 2 pm.

"Even if there is a grain of truth in the charges against me, I will never look back towards Parliament," an assertive Bansal said, adding that the allegations amounted to a 'joke' by those who are 'unnerved' because of the coming corporation elections in November.

BJP members also alleged that their party activists were attacked last week in Chandigarh when they were demanding a CBI probe in the alleged multi-crore rupee fraud in allotment of small shops. Swaraj said a report on the allotment of small shops or booths had highlighted 'glaring irregularities" in the process.

She demanded that the CBI should probe the matter. After the first adjournment, Bansal was seen talking to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, apparently explaining the issue. He was later seen speaking to leader of the house Pranab Mukherjee.

In the Rajya Sabha, BJP members S S Ahluwalia and Rajiv Pratap Rudy tried to raise the Chandigarh shop allotment issue during Zero Hour. Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan said that the Rajya Sabha chairman had not admitted the petition of the BJP member to raise the issue.

But the BJP members were adamant and trooped into the well, following which Khan adjourned the house till noon. As soon as the house re-assembled for the question hour, at 2 PM, BJP members trooped into the well shouting slogans against corruption and demanding 'the corrupt should resign.'

 No question could be taken up with the BJP members refusing to relent even as chairman Hamid Ansari asked them to give a notice for discussion on the issue if they wanted it.

When pointed out that the BJP member had given a notice to raise it in zero hour, Ansari said the notice was given only at 1:58 pm on Monday and it requires some time to take a decision. As the BJP members engaged in slogan shouting, renewable energy minister Farooq Abdullah said, "They are not interested in welfare of the nation. It is very unfortunate."

As the din continued, the chairman adjourned the house until 3 pm. Earlier, when the upper house met for the day, BJP members raised the issue forcing two adjournments before lunch.

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