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Christmas holiday and conversions stall RS for second day

Source: PTI
December 16, 2014 17:18 IST
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Rajya Sabha failed to transact any business for the second straight day on Tuesday as opposition members persisted with their demand for a reply from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of conversions and created ruckus on government's move to hold events in schools on Christmas holiday.

The deadlock continued with the Opposition voicing concern over reports of conversion and wanted no less than the prime minister himself to assure the House and the country that such things would not be allowed.

"Till the prime minister does not assure the House...why his words are not being honoured. It is clear that the Government does not want the House to function" Deputy Leader of Congress Anand Sharma said as members from his party as also those from Left and SP trooped into the Well.

Finance Minister and Leader of the House Arun Jaitley lashed out at the opposition, saying "the issue is you want anarchy and not discussion."

He wanted to speak on the proposal for celebrations in Jawahar Novadaya Vidyalayas on Christmas Day but could not because of the din.

He said the 500 Navodaya Vidyalayas are residential schools.

Amid the din, the House was adjourned for the day at 2.30 pm but not before Deputy Chairman P J Kurien remarked that he was "sorry for the indiscipline".

In all, the House was adjourned 6 times during the day.

When the House assembled for the day, Congress and Samajwadi Party members forced two adjournments in the pre-noon session.

Barring Tamil Nadu parties, the entire Opposition raised slogans and stormed into the Well, forcing Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to adjourn the House first for 15 minutes and then till noon.

Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said the government had on Monday stated that there was no order asking schools to remain open on Christmas Day for an essay competition on 'Good Governance' to mark former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's birthday.

He said he had a copy of the circular issued to schools and wanted it to be tabled in the House.

Soon Congress, SP, Bahujan Samaj Party, Janata Dal-United and Trinamool Congress members joined to raise statements by ministers and ruling party MPs, which the opposition members contended were vitiating the communal atmosphere.

They trooped into the Well shouting slogans "Dharam Ka Sauda Band Ko (Stop Selling Religion)" and demanding a reply from the prime minister.

Treasury benches objected to repeated disruptions with Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi saying the government was ready for an immediate debate on the issue but the opposition was running away from it.

Attempts by Kurien to restore order failed, forcing the first adjournment for 15 minutes.

Similar scenes were witnessed when the House resembled.

Kurien asked Naresh Agarwal (SP), who had given a notice, to speak but as soon as he began to make his submission, treasury benches shouted him down.

This led to Opposition members trooping into the Well shouting slogans.

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government was ready for a debate but the opposition was running away. The protest, he said, was politically motivated.

Kurien told the slogan shouting members that Parliament was not for slogan shouting but for debate.

"Government is ready for discussion. Why don't you agree for a discussion," he said but the members kept shouting.

"Very unfortunate. I am so disappointed at unruly behaviour of members. You are elected to the House not to shout slogans but to debate and discuss... This is height of indiscipline... unbecoming behaviour," he said.

When the Question Hour began at noon, the Opposition members again protested and trooped into the Well.

Naresh Agarwal (SP) alleged that MPs and MLAs of the ruling party were creating problems in the country.

Amid din, Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the proceedings again for 15 minutes.

When the House reassembled, Opposition members were on their feet once again even as the Chairman took up the scheduled business.

Anand Sharma (Cong) tried to put his point of view, but he could not heard in the din.

Ansari soon adjourned the House till 2 pm.

Similar scenes were witnessed when the House reassembled and it was again adjourned for 15 minutes and then for the day.

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