The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday witnessed heated exchanges between the government and the Opposition over whether to take up legislative business or debating the Chandigarh stalking case and printing of differently-sized new currency notes, leading to its adjournment for the day.
The House, which had earlier seen a discussion on the 75th anniversary of the Quit India Movement, witnessed two adjournments as the opposition and the treasury benches stuck to their respective stands before the Chair called it a day.
While the government wanted to push the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill for consideration and passage, the Congress-led opposition members wanted to discuss the contentious issue of Chandigarh stalking case and discrepancies in the printing of new currency notes.
Consensus eluded on running of the House even after the leaders of the two sides met in the presence of Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to break the deadlock.
Those who attended the meeting after the second adjournment included Union Ministers Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Ravi Shankar Prasad, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Jairam Ramesh and Kumari Selja.
Naqvi later said in the House that the Congress party had agreed to take up legislative business first and later discuss the issues raised by them and claimed that the Congress party was ‘now retracting from its commitment’.
He said the government understood the opposition’s intention that they would first discuss the issues they are raising and then walk out of the House so that the bill is not passed.
Prasad repeatedly stressed that the Banking Regulation Bill was ‘very important and pro-poor’ and would empower the Reserve Bank of India to ask banks to initiate proceedings against bad loans.
However, the opposition members did not relent and stuck to their stand on discussing the issues first and then taking up the legislative business.
Pressing for a discussion on their issues including the Chandigarh stalking incident, the opposition members led by those from the Congress trooped into the well, raising anti- government slogans.
They also raised slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party on the matter related to stalking of a girl in Chandigarh by the son of a Haryana BJP leader.
Congress deputy leader Anand Sharma said Chandigarh being a Union Territory was directly administered by the Home Minister who should come to the House and give a statement on the issue.
Terming the banking bill as important one, Sharma said that ‘please do not pass it in the din’.
D Raja of the Communist Party of India also said no bill should be passed in the din.
Kurien then said if the House was always witnessing a pandemonium, ‘what can the Chair do’.
Pressing for a discussion on the issues raised by the Opposition, Sharma said on Thursday the new chairman of the House will join and there would be no time for a discussion on the bill.
Selja said the government was protecting the accused in the stalking case and trying to push matter under the carpet.
Even after intervention by Kurien, both sides remained defiant on their respective stands, leading to the premature adjournment of the House for the day.
Earlier initiating the discussion, senior congress leader Kapil Sibal gave a notice to suspend legislative business in and take up the matter related to discrepancy in the sizes of the new currency notes being printed.
“We are confronted with a very serious issue...we have discovered differently-sized notes in the public domain. We would like to know what is going on? Who is printing these notes,” Sibal said.
His notice was however rejected by the deputy chairman.