Day 2 monsoon session: protests stall parliament


New Delhi : Protests by the opposition over inflation, corruption and land acquisition Tuesday forced the adjournment of both houses of parliament for the day.

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The houses were adjourned twice before lunch due to sloganeering by members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Communist parties and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) who pressed for a debate on the issues.

When it met in the post-lunch session, there were more noisy scenes, forcing the chairs to adjourn the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for the day.

The day began on a stormy note as opposition members stood up and demanded that debates on price rise and corruption be taken up under rules that entail voting.

This was not acceptable to the government although it is ready for a debate — but under another rule that does not mandate voting or makes the house recommendations binding on it.

Interestingly, otherwise bitter foes the BJP and the Left were on the same page Tuesday. Their MPs jointly raised the demand for an immediate discussion on pressing issues concerning the nation.

The Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha were first adjourned till 12 noon and then till 2 p.m. as the unrest continued.

MPs from Uttar Pradesh’s ruling BSP also joined the protest, asking the government to table the new land acquisition bill drafted Friday.

In the Rajya Sabha, Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the house due to the ruckus created by opposition MPs.

When the house met again at 12, the scenes were no different, forcing K. Rahman Khan in the chair to adjourn the house till 2 p.m.

Since the morning scenes were repeated in the post-lunch session, the chair adjourned the Rajya Sabha for the day.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar made obituary references to pay tributes to two former MPs who died during the inter-session period.

However, when she called for questions to be taken up for replying, opposition MPs were on their feet, demanding that discussions on graft and inflation be held first.

The speaker went ahead with the schedule, prompting noisy protests in the house. She adjourned the house till 12 noon.

Protests returned when the house reassembled. However, Meira Kumar did manage to get some papers tabled, including a copy of an agreement between the Food Corp of India and the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution for 2011-12.

But the protests only gained momentum, forcing her to adjourn the Lok Sabha. When it reassembled post lunch, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Ajay Maken made a suo-moto statement on the CommonWealth Games scam.

As no further business could be taken up due to noisy scenes, the chair adjourned the house for the day.

With the parliament business being stalled for the second day of the month-long session that began Monday, the government and opposition appear headed for another logjam.

The BJP-led opposition has indicated it will seek answers from the government on rising prices, corruption and terrorist attacks.

The Left too demanded discussion under rule that entails voting.

“Discussion under rules that entail voting will make the government take a committed stand to deal with price rise,” Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury said.

The BJP sought answers on the 2G scam from both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram after jailed former communications minister A. Raja dragged them into the scandal.

Raja told the court that he had kept them informed with every decision he had taken in issuing telecom spectrum licences.