Angry speaker adjourns Lok Sabha sine die amid bedlam


New Delhi : There was high drama in the Lok Sabha Friday as opposition parties walked out in protest against the government passing bills without discussions amid noisy protests over proposed statehood to Telangana. Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the house sine die slamming the unruly behaviour of some MPs.

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“It is disturbing to note that a thinking is growing among certain sections in the house that the house should be paralyzed in order to make a political point,” Meira Kumar said before she announced the indefinite adjournment of the Lok Sabha.

“The house is the symbol of the dreams of over one billion people of this country,” the speaker said reminding the MPs the “solemn oath” they have taken that they would faithfully discharge their duties.

The speaker asked MPs to make an “honest introspection” about the “disturbing trend” in the functioning of the house.

The third session of 15th Lok Sabha commenced Nov 19 and had 21 sittings spread over 105 hours. In this session, the house lost 31 hours and 49 minutes due to interruptions and forced adjournments.

On Friday also, chaos ruled the house as Andhra Pradesh MPs protested continuously for and against a separate Telangana state. The MPs from the Telegu Desam Party (TDP) and the Congress, representing the two sides of the debate, disrupted the proceedings and forced cancellation of the Question Hour at 11.20 a.m. The Lok Sabha was first adjourned till noon.

Pandemonium returned when the house resumed at 12.

As the bedlam continued, the government rushed through business papers and got passed many of them, including a mid-year budget review and a white paper and vision 2020 of Indian Railways, in a span of just 20 minutes.

The MPs who tabled the papers were not even audible.

The opposition parties protested saying it was “undemocratic” to move the bills without being debated. Left MPs were the first to walk out and were followed by those from the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and also the Samajwadi Party, which provides outside support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

In a joint press conference outside the house, BJP, Left, Samajwadi Party and JD-U leaders said the ruckus over Telangana was a “conspiracy” by the ruling Congress to pass bills without allowing the opposition to speak on them.

They said the bills should have been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee before being given a “safe passage”.

“It is quite unprecedented. This has never happened. There were many important and controversial bills and all were passed without discussion,” said an angry Basudeb Acharia, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader in the Lok Sabha.

“This is nothing but a mockery of parliamentary democracy and it was deliberately done (by the Congress). It is undemocratic,” Acharia told reporters outside the house.

Gurudas Dasgupta of the CPI said: “We have never seen the ruling party disrupting the house and denying opposition parties a chance to debate over important bills. We wanted the government to speak about (David Coleman) Headley’s missing file. The Congress is undermining India’s democracy.”

BJP’s deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said the Congress was “responsible for the chaos and the disorder in the house”.

“They should have sent the bills to the Parliamentary Standing Committee,” she said, as Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh Yadav and JD-U’s Sharad Yadav supported her.