Sri Lankan Tamils’ debate loses to corruption in Rajya Sabha


New Delhi : The Rajya Sabha saw a brief ruckus Wednesday as members clashed on whether to take up a discussion on Sri Lankan Tamils or corruption, with the latter winning the duel.

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Both discussions were slated in the list of business. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members wanted to take up the debate on corruption, the Left, DMK and AIADMK members, as well as some others, wanted the issue of Sri Lankan Tamils to be taken up first.

After a brief adjournment of 15 minutes, it was decided that the house will take up debate on corruption first, leading to a walkout by the DMK.

Soon after the question hour, Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan called for a debate on the situation of Sri Lankan Tamils to be started. The BJP objected to this and asked for the debate on corruption to be taken up first.

BJP member S.S. Ahluwalia said the debate on Sri Lankan Tamils could be taken up Thursday. “We are interested in debate on the issue of Tamils, I have also given a notice on this. The house was adjourned on the issue of corruption (Tuesday).”

The members from Tamil Nadu however objected, stating that the issue of Sri Lankan Tamils should be raised first as it has already been much delayed.

“The external affairs minister (S.M. Krishna) is present in the house, the leader of opposition (Arun Jaitley) is present. It is not only an issue of the Tamils, it is a national issue, parliament as a whole should respond,” Communist Party of India (CPI) member D. Raja said.

Other members from AIADMK, DMK and Left parties were also on their feet demanding the issue to be taken up first.

“Last week also the debate was listed, then some other issue came and we gave way. First time the issue is being taken up as a debate,” DMK member Tiruchi Siva said.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla, meanwhile, said the government was ready for both the issues and can take up whatever the opposition wants.

Amid the din, the house was adjourned for 15 minutes.

When the house reassembled, the deputy chairman said it had been decided to take up the debate on corruption first. He said the decision was taken in a meeting with the leader of opposition.

An irked DMK walked out protesting the decision.

Jaitley then initiated the debate on corruption.