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United oppn targets govt in parliament over conversion controversy

Source: PTI
December 22, 2014 14:27 IST
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A united opposition on Monday cornered the government in Parliament, accusing it of focusing on issues like religious conversions instead of fulfilling promises of bringing back black money and creating jobs.

Accusing the government of allowing conversions and remaining silent on poll promises like bringing back black money and providing employment opportunities, the opposition in both houses did not allow government to respond and created uproar leading to three adjournments in the pre-lunch period in Rajya Sabha.

The house was adjourned once during the zero hour and twice during question hour when members of the Samajwadi Party, the Janata Dal-United and the Trinamool Congres rushed to the well raising slogans and holding placards highlighting unfulfilled promises made by government.

In the Lok Sabha, members of SP, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the JD-U staged a walkout after Mulayam Singh Yadav of SP accused the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not fulfilling promises to people who had voted this government to power.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan allowed Yadav to speak even as members protested holding posters.

The SP supremo said promises were made that farmers would get money in their accounts and that land encroached by China and Pakistan would be taken back. But "these promises have not been fulfilled... Ek kaam karke dikhaye (at least fulfil one promise)," he said.

In the RS, Sharad Yadav of JD-U raised the issue saying government's focus is on ghar wapsi campaigns through conversions instead of fulfilling promises made to people ahead of elections.

"You had promised incentive to farmers for their produce. Now a new thing has come... you did not say you will launch conversion campaigns. Your party’s ministers and MPs are saying this. You did not fulfil the promises made to people. You have forgotten them. That is why this house is not functioning," he said.

Ramgopal Yadav of SP said the government made so many promises but did not fulfil any.

"There are over 5 crore unemployed in the country. You did not create any jobs. Many parties are sitting on a dharna and we have given a notice under Article 266 after suspension of all business to discuss this," he said.

He was supported by Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India-Marxist and Derek O'Brien of TMC who said they fully support the SP on the issue.

"The prime minister has not fulfilled any promise and he sought a 10-year moratorium on communal riots and communal polarisation, but the things that are happening are not good for the nation," Yechury said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is also leader of the house, rejected the demand for a discussion on the issue while citing rule 169, whereby a discussion once held cannot be done again.

"The discussion has already taken place. The motion on a discussion itself is inadmissible," he said, adding that if there is any other issue the government is ready to discuss.

Anand Sharma of the Congress party demanded that the prime minister should come to the house and reply to the members after hearing them on the issue of conversions.

"The prime minister should assure the house on conversions. Government is running away from a discussion on the issue, it is not the opposition which is running away. It is unfortunate," he said, adding it is the responsibility of the government to bring the House to order.

O'Brien said he was in favour of the SP demand for discussion and the prime minister should come and reply.

"You don't need a 56-inch chest to come to the house and reply," he said.

D Raja of the CPI alleged that in the name of conversions and re-conversions certain organisations are flexing muscles.

In the Lok Sabha, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu responded to Yadav saying it is not an election rally but parliament. Modi was present in the house at the time.

Soon after the house met, SP members trooped into the well holding posters demanding that the government bring back black money stashed away abroad. There were over 20 members of TMC, JD-U and RJD in the well.

When the upper house met at noon things did not change as SP members carrying banners and shouting slogans against the government trooped in the well. Members of the JD-U and some from Congress were also on their feet.

Protesting members kept raising slogans of "Kala dhan wapas lao" ((bring back black money) and "wada khilaafi band karo" (don't go back on our promises).

As protesting members did not relent to Chairman Hamid Ansari's request to carry on with question hour, he adjourned the house for 15 minutes.

Similar scenes prevailed when the house re-assembled.

Though members from the ruling side insisted that questions should be taken up, the opposition did not relent.

Ansari then adjourned the house till 2 pm.

Image: The opposition was up in arms against the government and interrupted the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha several times. Photograph: PTI

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