Protest in Lower House too; No end to stalemate

RSTV Bureau
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New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo – PTI

Lok Sabha’s first working day of the Monsoon session was a washout following a massive protest by the Opposition and in particular by the Congress party. Though the Parliamentary session began on Tuesday but the lower house was adjourned for a day following the obituary references yesterday.

As the house reconvened on the Wednesday morning, an aggressive Opposition sought the removal of Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje in connection with the Lalit Modi row.

The standoff began soon after the Lok Sabha reassembled at 11:00 am which led to its first adjournment till noon. The house witnessed repeated adjournments after which it was finally adjourned for the day with very little business being transacted.

The members of Congress party and the Left front repeatedly stormed the Well, carrying placards and raising slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and alleging the BJP-led NDA government for not acting against Ms Swaraj and Chief Minister Raje.

Congress members in particular drew a hard line by sporting black ribbons and displaying the placards criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his “silence” over the Lalit Modi controversy.

The tempers rose as the Speaker Sumitra Mahajan warned the Opposition members of an action over the “unruly” behaviour.

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Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan during the proceedings. Photo – PTI

“In the event of disorderly conduct, I would be constrained to initiate appropriate disciplinary action against erring members,” Ms Mahajan said amid the pandemonium.

The Speaker also added that she had always provided “adequate” opportunity to “all sections of the House” to raise matters of topical interest, while hoping that all the members would adhere to the set norms of etiquette and standards of behaviour. But it instead invited sharp exchange from the members of Congress and Left parties, who once again stormed into the Well saying “Go Ahead”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the House for some time in the morning. All this while, Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj too was present in the house, sitting on the front row along with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.

The only work done was the green signal given to a motion seeking extension of the term of the Joint Committee of Parliament on Land Acquisition Bill.

Members of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) too were seen supporting the opposition’s demand. Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) members also contributed to the uproar by raising the demand for a separate High Court for Telangana.

The principal opposition party, Congress, has once again reiterated that it will continue to protest against the Central government until it gives in to its demands, including the resignation from leaders facing the allegations of ‘scam’. The ruling BJP, on the other hand, once again rejected the opposition demand.

(With inputs from the PTI)