Thursday was the penultimate day of the Budget Session of Parliament. The second half of the session which began on March 5 has been a washout with no legislative business being transacted due to stalling of proceedings by the opposition.
The second leg of the Budget Session of Parliament headed for a complete washout on Thursday, with the penultimate day witnessing adjournment of both the Houses without transacting any legislative business due to continued protests by the opposition parties.
The second half of the session which began on March 5 has been a washout with no legislative business being transacted as yet, barring the crucial Finance Bill by Lok Sabha.
The Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party members traded charges in the Lok Sabha over the near washout of the session as noisy protests by All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam members seeking setting up of the Cauvery water management board saw the House being adjourned for the day.
The proceedings in the Rajya Sabha too witnessed uproarious scenes when it met this morning, leading to the first adjournment till 2 pm. Thereafter, the continued ruckus forced the House to be adjourned for another 15 minutes and then for the day.
The heated exchanges between the government and the opposition in the Lok Sabha also saw Congress leader Sonia Gandhi being agitated over certain names being taken by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar holding them and her party responsible for the disruptions in the House.
The names mentioned by Kumar were expunged by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
The House, as in the past in this session, saw AIADMK members trooping into the Well and raising slogans. This led the Speaker to adjourn the House till noon.
At noon, even before the House re-assembled, the AIADMK members were again in the Well raising slogans such as ‘we want justice’ and ‘we demand Cauvery board’.
After the listed papers were laid, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Left, Telugu Desam Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal members stood at their seats seeking the Speaker’s ruling on the notices they had given on the no-confidence motion, moved by some of them.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the entire opposition were ready for a discussion on the no-confidence motion, besides seeking debates on alleged dilution of the SC/ST Act by the Supreme Court and the banking involving diamantaire Nirav Modi.
“We are ready for discussion. Kindly allow us to move the no-confidence motion to discuss various issues,” Kharge said.
Countering him, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the government was ready for a debate but the Congress and some of its leaders were against the debate.
His remarks angered the Congress members who strongly protested saying it was the government which was running away from the debate.
An agitated Sonia Gandhi and other Congress members strongly objected when the minister took names of a few party leaders alleging they were trying to stall the debate.
At this, the Speaker intervened and ruled that no names should come on record of the proceedings.
With AIADMK MPs continuing sloganeering, Maharaj said she cannot take up notices on the no-confidence motion till the House is in order. But as the noisy protest continued, she adjourned the House for the day.
In the Rajya Sabha, the Opposition parties continued to stall proceedings on Thursday, forcing an adjournment till 2 pm within about 10 minutes after it had met for the day.
While DMK and AIADMK protested over the Cauvery issue and MPs from Andhra demanded special status for the state, Trinamool Congress members charged the government with misleading the House on the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill.
Soon after two new members took oath, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy of the TMC raised a point of order on a statement by Deputy Chairman P J Kurien on Wednesday on the passage of Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2013 by the Lok Sabha.
Roy said the Bill has not been passed by Lok Sabha as was stated by Kurien while allowing its introduction in Rajya Sabha and added that the order passed by the Chair yesterday was under wrong premise and he should recall it.
Several Opposition members also protested the attempts by the government to mislead the House on the issue saying some ministers had also said that the bill had been passed by the Lok Sabha.
Correcting the record, Naidu said the Bill to amend the anti-graft law was the one reported by the Select Committee of the House.
But Naidu could barely finish the statement when opposition members started shouting slogans from inside the Well. Samajwadi Party members, donning the party’s trademark red caps, raised the issue of farmer distress. As the opposition was unrelenting, Naidu adjourned the proceedings till 2 pm.
When the House re-assembled, the opposition members were again in the Well raising slogans. An agitated Kurien, who was in the Chair, said “I am very sorry that even Chair is not allowed to speak”.
He said anti-corruption amendment bill was moved on Wednesday for consideration and a division was sought for amendments, for which the House should be in order. However as the protestors refused to pay heed, Kurien adjourned the House for 15 minutes.
When it reconvened at 2:26 pm, TDP and AIADMK members came into the Well.
Warning them, Kurien read out the provisions of House Rule 256 and said all those protesting in the Well and obstructing normal business were all liable and eligible to be suspended. He also referred to rules on expulsion of members and asked “Should I proceed with that?”
As the heated exchanges continued and the noisy protests went on unabated, the House was adjourned for the day.