The Union Public Service Commission exam row generated heat in both Houses of Parliament with a member tearing a paper and throwing it towards the Speaker in Lok Sabha and almost the entire opposition staging a walkout in the Upper House as the government refused to set a timeline for resolving the issue.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Prakash Javadekar also came under sharp attack in Rajya Sabha from the opposition which demanded an apology from him after he allegedly “instigated” members of the treasury benches to protest when the issue was raised.
Opposition members created uproar over the issue in both Houses leading to adjournment of Rajya Sabha thrice before lunch. Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the government has taken the ongoing agitation by UPSC aspirants on the issue very seriously and is studying all aspects.
“Government has taken the issue very seriously and is considering every aspect. The report has been given by the committee on the issue only a day ago. The report is being studied. The government wants this to be resolved as soon as possible,” Singh told the Rajya Sabha.
This, however, did not satisfy the agitating members who sought a clear time-frame to be set to resolve the issue and staged a walkout.
In the Rajya Sabha when members pointed out that the seven-day time-frame set by the government to come out with a statement on the issue in the House had expired, Minister of State for Personnel Jitender Singh said, “The government has received the report today. It is a sensitive issue. There are different views on it. Give me time to study it.”
Admitting that the time sought by the government has expired, the minister pointed out that there were holidays in between and Government got only 4-5 days to look into it.
Dissatisfied with the reply of the two ministers, the entire opposition, except All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam staged a walkout in the Rajya Sabha. The Samajwadi Party was the first to stage a walkout, followed by the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Congress, Trinamool Congress and the Left parties.
Opposition members were particularly agitated over the treatment meted out to the protesting students in Delhi at the hands of the police and attacked the government for lodging cases and use of force against them.
Amid sharp exchanges between the opposition and treasury benches, the opposition members took strong exception to Javadekar gesturing the ruling party members to stand and retort at the opposition attack. “If the parliamentary affairs minister himself provokes his party members to stand up and do this. The conduct of the minister is not acceptable. He should either apologise or the chair should turn him out,” Naresh Agrawal from the SP said.
Sitaram Yechury from the Communist Party of India-Marxist demanded withdrawal of cases against the agitating students and demanded urgent resolution of the matter. TMC’s Sukhendu Sekhar Roy also asked the government to stop the atrocities on agitating students.
Congress’s Satyavrat Chaturvedi said lakhs of students of regional languages are agitating against the UPSC giving weightage to a particular class of students.
As members insisted on the Chair directing the government to fix a deadline for resolving the issue, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said he cannot direct the government.
Image: Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad activists stage a dharna demanding against the CSAT examination of UPSC, at Jantar Mantar. Photograph: PTI photo