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Parliament's extended winter session off to a stormy start

Source: PTI
February 05, 2014 18:09 IST
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The extended Winter session of Parliament got off a stormy start on Wednesday with uproar over the Telangana and caste-reservation issue stalling proceedings.

Lok Sabha could not transact any business, while the Rajya Sabha saw a brief debate on the "legislative competence" of Parliament to enact the Communal Violence law, which could not be introduced because of Opposition.

The issue of caste-reservation also led to pandemonium in the Upper House as members of Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Janata Dal-United wanted the government to clarify its stand in the wake of suggestion by senior Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi that such quota should be abolished.

The government made it clear that there was no such proposal and existing reservation policy will continue.

Defence Minister A K Antony also made a statement on the scam-tainted AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal that all legal actions were being pursued in the case.

Both the Houses saw noisy scenes as soon as they met for the day with members from Andhra Pradesh -- from Telangana as well as Seemandhra regions -- cutting across party lines storming the Well. Those protesting included members from ruling Congress.

While Seemandhra members carried placards saying 'Jai Samaikya Andhra Pradesh' (hail united Andhra Pradesh), Telangana members shouted slogans demanding early creation of the separate state.

The government has announced that it will take up the Bill to carve out a separate Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh in the session that will conclude on February 21.

Andhra Pradesh has remained sharply divided on regional lines on the Telangana issue and the Bill is coming to Parliament after being rejected by the Andhra Pradesh assembly.

The government is expected to introduce the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill in Parliament next week.

Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal members were on their feet, targetting Congress on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in the wake of renewed controversy on the issue following a television interview by Rahul Gandhi.

Carrying placards and shouting slogans, they wanted day-to-day trial of pending cases against Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler.

BSP members were also in the Well but it was not immediately clear what issue they were raising.

Speaker Meira Kumar repeatedly appealed to members to maintain calm and allow smooth conduct of the House, reminding them that it was the last session of the 15th Lok Sabha. As her pleas went unheeded, she adjourned the House, first till noon and later for the day.

Before the adjournment, the House condemned the attacks and harassment of people from the Northeast in various parts of the country in the wake of the killing of a boy from Arunachal Pradesh in Delhi.

Rajya Sabha witnessed three adjournments in the pre-lunch session amid ruckus over issues like Telangana as also scam tainted AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal and 2G scandal.

When the House met after two adjournments at 2 PM, little work was transacted before it was adjourned for the day around 3 pm.

Earlier, soon after Chairman Hamid Ansari made obituary references, two Telugu Desam Party members C M Ramesh and Y S Choudhary and KVP Ramchandra Rao of Congress from Seemandhra trooped into the Well opposing bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. They carried placards saying "Save Andhra Pradesh" and "We Want United Andhra Pradesh".

AIADMK members led by V Maitreyan were on their feet on the additional "evidence" coming to light about alleged roles of DMK Chief M Karunanidhi, his daughter Kanimozhi and a top police officer of Tamil Nadu in the 2G spectrum scam.

Maitreyan displayed a CD (compact disc), but what he said could not be heard in the din.

Amid din, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde moved a bill to withdraw The Communal Violence (Prevention Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill, 2005, which was adopted.

However, trouble started when Shinde sought to introduce the new bill to replace the earlier one.

As soon as the home minister moved The Prevention of Communal Violence (Access to Justice and Reparation) Bill,

2014) amid uproar, BJP members were on their feet opposing it.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien ruled that the bill stands deferred in view of the "mood of the House" after the move was opposed by BJP, CPI-M, AIADMK, DMK and SP.

Before the deferment, the House saw an animated brief debate on whether Parliament had the jurisdiction to enact such a bill with Law Minister Kapil Sibal and Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley, both noted lawyers, sparring on the issue.

Jaitley contended that Parliament has no legislative competence to enact such a law and it will violate the spirit of federalism.

Countering him, Sibal insisted that the federal structure was not being violated and any Central action under the bill would be with the consent of the state government.

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