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Amid anti-Modi sloganeering Speaker refuses to adjourn Lok Sabha

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 31, 2015 13:54 IST
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Adjournment was the order of the day in Rajya Sabha, but Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan remained determine to continue proceedings

Lok Sabha witnessed noisy protests by Opposition members over the Lalit Modi controversy and other issues, but a determined Speaker Sumitra Mahajan continued the proceedings on Friday amid the bedlam and warned the protesting members of action. As the ruckus continued, the Speaker refused to adjourn the House and a visibly peeved Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu termed the Opposition protests as a "fraud played on the democracy".

The Question Hour continued even as over 40 Opposition members, including those from the Congress and Left, were in the well shouting slogans and holding placards. They were protesting over the Lalit Modi controversy involving External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and corruption issues.

Telangana Rashtra Samithi members were also on the aisles with placards demanding a separate high court for Telangana. Amid the din, questions were raised by members, mostly from the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies, and some ministers replied. Mahajan repeatedly requested the protesting Opposition members to put down the placards, as it was against the rules. As the pleas went unheeded, the Speaker warned that she would be forced to name the members and was even heard asking for the names of those holding placards.

"You have to put down the placards now... You are taking away the rights of more than 300 members," she said. Warning the protesting members, Mahajan said, "I am not going to adjourn the House today," which elicited loud thumping of desks by the ruling BJP members. Mahajan even asked Congress members Sushmita Dev and Gaurav Gogoi to put down their placards. As the protests persisted, Naidu wondered whether "Parliament is helpless and can 40 members take the House to ransom? We cannot allow this (protests)... This is a tamasha, a fraud played on the democracy of the country." he said.

The minister also read out rules of conduct in the House and urged the Speaker to take the matter seriously. "They don't want to discuss any issue, including those related to farmers and are just playing politics," Naidu said. Soon after the House met for the day, Congress and other Opposition members trooped into the well shouting slogans against the government and many were holding placards.

They were heard shouting "Shame, shame" and "Pradhan mantri chuppi todo (Prime Minister break your silence)". One of the placards read 'Shameless government voiceless prime minister." Earlier, the Speaker rejected a number of notices for adjournment relating to various subjects including abolition of death penalty and money laundering activities.

Image: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. Photograph: PTI 

Opposition Congress on Friday forced adjournment of the Rajya Sabha for about as its members created a furore demanding the resignation of ministers allegedly involved in Lalitgate and Vyapam scam before these issues could be taken up for discussion.

Congress members stood in the aisle and raised slogans seeking action against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for allegedly helping controversial former IPL head Lalit Modi and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the Vyapam scam, forcing Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to adjourn the House till noon soon after it assembled for the day at 1100 hours.

Virtually no business has taken place in the House since the session began last week as a determined opposition has been insisting on its demands, including a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the two issues.

Soon after the House mourned death of its former member Sarada Mohanty and papers were laid on the table, Kurien said he has received four notices for suspension of business to take up discussion.

"Earlier also I agreed to suspend business (on similar notice) but the motion was not moved. What is the point," he said and asked Congress members if they were ready to move the motion today.

Anand Sharma (Cong) said while the motions of past are past, the motions moved on Friday were independent motions. The motions seek a response from prime minister "to our demand for accountability and action."

"We are within our right to move the motion and demand action," he said, adding the government has not agreed to Congress party's demand.

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as well as other ministers have already stated that the government was ready for a discussion and it should start immediately.

"Please start discussion immediately," he said, accusing the opposition of "running away from discussion."

To this, Sharma said Prasad was "suffering from selective loss of memory... we want tangible proposition (on the demands)."

Kurien said the motion demands discussion on the Vyapam scam and prime minister's response to it while fixing responsibility. "They (government) are ready for it," he said.

But the Congress members were not satisfied moving into aisle shouting slogans demanding resignations first. "Pehle istifa do (first resign)," they shouted. Amid the din, Kurien adjourned the House till 1200 hours.

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