Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned for the 15th day on Friday as the stalemate between the Opposition and the government continued for the third week of the second leg of the budget session with ruckus prevailing unabated.
While the Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day in less than 20 minutes after it assembled on Friday morning, the Lok Sabha was first adjourned till noon and then for the day after laying of the listed papers.
The Lower House also did not take up the no-confidence motion against the government due to the noisy protests. It has been a week since the motion has not been taken up due to the unruly scenes.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had last Friday announced that she had received two notices for the motion but was unable to start the process due to the disruptions.
However before they were adjourned on Friday, both the Houses paid glowing tributes to freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, who were hanged on this day 87 years ago by the British rulers.
The Rajya Sabha could not transact any business on Friday, as opposition parties continued to create ruckus, forcing the adjournment of proceedings.
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu adjourned the proceedings for the day but not before expressing anguish over the House not functioning since it met on March 5 when the second part of the budget session started.
Naidu said past disruptions should not be cited to justify the “present wrong” and expressed hope that the government will take the opposition into confidence to ensure
that the House functions next week.
He said it was distressing that the Rajya Sabha has not discharged its mandate for three weeks. “People of the country have been let down.”
Andhra parties, including the Telugu Desam Party, and KVP Ramachandra Rao of the Congress trooped into the Well shouting slogans for special status to the state, while Tamil Nadu parties -- Dravida Munnetra Kazagham and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam -- demanded setting up of the Cauvery management board for river water sharing between riparian states.
Congress members too were in the Well raising slogans that the government was against scheduled castes and tribes, in an apparent reference to the recent Supreme Court ruling diluting certain provisions of the Scheduled castes and tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Naidu said he could understand that MPs may resort to disruption for a couple of days to press their issues but “persisting with it for three weeks has no justification”.
Congress members countered this by blaming the government for the stalemate and alleged that it has not engaged with the opposition parties on these matters so far.
The Chairman, however, went on to state that while some may cite past instances to justify the present impasse, the three-week long disruption had no justification.
“How long do you want to justify the present wrong, based on the past,” he said. “People of the country are aspiring for a change. Should the change not begin from Rajya Sabha.”
He said people were asking why the House was not being adjourned sine die but added that this was not in his hands.
“I am pained, I am sad,” he said, adding he would not like to hazard a guess about what will happen next week or “if you are going to change for better ... If you are not
interested in running of this House, it is another matter.”
When Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel read out the government agenda for next week, Naidu hoped the government will take the opposition into confidence to ensure that the House functions.
Naidu said he was willing to allow discussion on any issue the members wanted, but placards, demonstrations and slogan shouting was not justified. He then adjourned the proceedings.
The Lok Sabha proceedings were also disrupted again on Friday due to noisy protests by the AIADMK and TRS members, following which Speaker Sumitra Mahajan expressed her inability to take up the notices for no-confidence motion and later adjourned the proceedings for the day.
She also announced a holiday for members on Monday on account of Ramnavami on Sunday as many of them had conveyed they would be busy in various related events and would find it difficult to join the House the next day.
The House was adjourned till noon soon after it met at 11 am following noisy protests by members of the AIADMK and the TRS over the Cauvery and quota issues respectively.
When it reassembled, the protests continued and Mahajan said she cannot not take up the notices for no-confidence motions as the House was not in order. The requisite head-count of members supporting the notices can be done only if they are in their seats, she added.
At least 50 members need to support a no-confidence notice for the House to accept it and start a debate.
The Speaker said the government had expressed its readiness for a discussion on it. The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government enjoys a comfortable majority in the House.
The Lok Sabha was then adjourned for the day as the protests continued.
This is the third straight week that both the Houses were adjourned without undertaking any significant business, barring the Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha.
Earlier when the House met for the day, Mahajan paid tributes to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev - who were hanged on March 23, 1931 by the British. The House observed silence as a mark of respect to the martyrs.
Before taking up the question hour, the Speaker urged members to maintain order but those from AIADMK and TRS trooped into the Well holding placards and raising slogans.
Congress members too were on their feet protesting against the Supreme Court verdict on the SC/ST Act. It has been demanding that the Centre seek a review of the court order which diluted provisions related to immediate arrest in cases related to atrocities on scheduled castes and tribes.
Expelled RJD member Pappu Yadav was seen holding two placards demanding special status for Bihar.