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JPC demand stalls parliament again


New Delhi : Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were adjourned Friday after the opposition disrupted proceedings demanding a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

While the Lok Sabha was adjourned twice, the upper house was adjourned for an hour in the morning.

In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee paid tribute to former MP Tarakeshwari Sinha who died last month. Soon after, opposition leaders began shouting slogans like “We want JPC” and “JPC lao desh ko Bachao” (Set up JPC, save the nation).

In the din, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said: “They (opposition) are afraid of a debate. They will be exposed. People will teach them a lesson.”

The speaker then adjourned the house for an hour.

When the house met again, the opposition allowed the government to table papers listed in today’s business, but their protests led to the adjournment of the Lok Sabha till 2 p.m.

Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes, however, managed to get the Apprentices (amendment) Bill 2007 passed amidst the chaos.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members soon rushed towards the speaker’s podium, shouting slogans saying that they would not allow the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) “high-handedness”.

Raising the issue, BJP deputy leader V.K. Malhotra said: “The opposition has been demanding a JPC on an issue on which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made statements in parliament thrice.”

Though Dasmunsi tried to make a statement regarding the government business next week, opposition members insisted that no business would be allowed until the government agreed to a JPC.

Speaker Chatterjee was forced to adjourn the house till 2 p.m.

In the Rajya Sabha, disruption of proceedings over the same issue had also led to adjournment of the house for an hour till noon.