Nirav Modi fleeing the country, special package for Andhra Pradesh and demands for constitution of the Cauvery Water Management Board were the issues stalling Parliament.
The Lok Sabha on Tuesday failed to transact any legislative business for the second straight day as the Congress and the Trinamool Congress sought the prime minister’s response on frauds in the banking sector, while parties from Andhra Pradesh persisted on their demand for a special status.
Besides the major opposition parties, National Democratic Alliance ally Shiv Sena protested in the Well demanding classical language status for Marathi. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam demanded the creation of Cauvery Water Management Board and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi raised slogans, demanding a hike in Telangana’s quota in reservation.
As the Lok Sabha continued to witness uproar, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the government is ready for a discussion on the issue of alleged financial irregularities in the banking sector and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will reply to the debate.
“This is the second part of the Budget session. We have to pass the Finance Bill and and Demands for Grants. If the House runs peacefully then everyone can raise their issues. I cannot understand why the Congress party is irritated... Government is ready for a discussion... I can’t understand why Congress is opposing it,” Kumar said amid ruckus in the House.
Kumar said a notice for discussion on ‘alleged systemic irregularities in the banking sector over the years and its impact on the Indian economy’ has been given by N K Premachandran and KC Venugopal of the Congress and the same is listed for discussion in the day’s list of business.
“Banking irregularities have been going on. It was happening even during the United Progressive Alliance. Why are they running away from discussion. People who indulged in wrongdoing should be punished...Congress should discuss what unscrupulous activity (hera pheri) happened during UPA,” the minister said.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said thousands of crores of fraud in nationalised banks has resulted in loot of public money and the perpetrators were allowed to leave the country. “We need to discuss...,” he insisted.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi was present in the House.
As the House continued to witness uproarious scenes, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the house till Wednesday.
In the morning, as soon as the House met, members of various opposition parties rushed to the Well holding placards and shouting slogans. Shiv Sena members were also seen holding placards demanding ‘classical language’ status for Marathi.
Mahajan took up the Question Hour, but amid bedlam, she adjourned the proceedings till 12 noon.
Wearing robes representing their party colours, members from AIADMK, TRS, TDP and the Shiv Sena were seen in the Well holding placards. Several BJP members were seen wearing robes from northeastern states.
Congress members were raising slogans on diamantaire Nirav Modi, the alleged kingpin in the Rs 12,700-crore fraud in the Punjab National Bank. “Chota Modi (Nirav Modi) kahan gaya? Pradhan Mantri Jawab do... Nirav Modi vapas lao,” the Congress members shouted.
Proceedings in the Rajya Sabha were virtually washed out on Tuesday due to continued opposition uproar over issues like the banking fraud, special package for Andhra Pradesh and demands for constitution of the Cauvery Water Management Board.
The House witnessed three adjournments during the day, with both Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Deputy Chairman P J Kurien telling the opposition members that they were ready to hold discussions on the issues being raised by them.
However, their appeals went unheeded throughout and the House was finally adjourned for the day at 3.35 pm.
As soon as the House assembled for the fourth time during the day at 3:30 PM, the opposition members again trooped into the Well raising slogans.
Amid the din, Kurien adjourned the House for the day as the members remained unrelenting and continued to raise slogans and displaying placards on their demands over issues like PNB scam, Andhra Pradesh special package and setting up of the Cauvery Water Management Board.
Earlier in the day, the House witnessed unruly scenes with members from the Telugu Desam Party, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Trinamool Congress trooping into the Well and raising slogans.
The Upper House was first adjourned soon after it assembled at 11 am, then again at 11:30 am and thereafter at 2 pm till 3.30 pm, when the chair finally called it a day.
Reacting to the disruptions, Chairman Naidu said, "I am not happy. I do not approve this sort of tactics. .... This is proving the public impression...Parliament is not conducting itself in a dignified manner."
Chastising the members for shouting slogans and display banners, he said "this is not the way. This is Parliament. This is not a bazaar."
"You are insulting yourself. You are making Parliament a laughing stock in front of the people of the country," Naidu said before he adjourned the House twice during the day, finally till 2 pm.
In the afternoon, Kurien assured the agitating members that they would be heard one-by-one. But members continued with their protests. "The chair is ready to allow discussions on any subject," said Kurien, adding, 'by doing this you are stooping down to the level of hooligans'.
Display of placards is against the rules, he said and told members, "Do not do this... you members have dignity ... This was not expected from members."
He said 'discussion and debate are the ways of parliamentary democracy and I would ask the government to respond you'.
However, the protesting members could not be pacified, following which Kurien adjourned the House till 3:30 pm.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel also told the opposition that the government was ready for a discussion on the banking scam.
"We are ready for a discussion. Irregularities in the banking sector are not from today but from years. We are ready to discuss banking irregularities and other issues. The government is not running away from this," he said.
Earlier, while TMC members raised slogans demanding that the alleged mastermind of the banking fraud Nirav Modi be brought back to the country, the AIADMK and DMK carried placards demanding constitution of the Cauvery Water Management Board for division of Cauvery water between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The TDP and a Congress member demanded implementation of a special package for Andhra Pradesh to make up for the loss after a separate Telangana was carved out.