Rajya Sabha: Disruption stalls even farewell remarks by retiring MPs

RSTV Bureau
Chairman Venkaiah Naidu in Rajya Sabha. PTI/RSTV

Chairman Venkaiah Naidu in Rajya Sabha.

Rajya Sabha witnessed another washout on Tuesday, with disruptions by AIADMK MPs even forcing the retiring members to make their farewell remarks. It was almost a full house in Rajya Sabha with Prime Minister Narendra Modi too present throughout the proceedings.

Soon after the formal business in the morning, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu’s remarks were cut short by the protesting MPs from AIADMK, which have been raising the issue of Cauvery river water dispute.

“… we have quiet good numbers of MPs retiring from Rajya Sabha… It is their farewell,” said the Chairman as he was suddenly disrupted by the AIADMK members.

“Please, it is their farewell… it is not correct. Please don’t argue with me,” Chairman said urging the protesting MPs that their protest “will reflect very poorly on Rajya Sabha.”

Soon after, TDP MPs joined the AIADMK in the protest. Both the parties have been protesting in the Upper house on the issues related to the respective states their party is in power.

While AIADMK has been demanding the constitution of board for the settlement of Cauvery water dispute, the TDP, which recently quit the NDA fold, have been protesting and demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh.

The Chairman also sought the opinion of leader of the house and leader of the opposition on the way forward. “Are we so helpless,” he said as he asked for their opinions.

“Sir, you have to take the call… Sir, we are in the favour of the house to function…,” leader of the opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

“I want to appeal to all the protesting member that many of our senior colleagues are retiring and they want to share their invaluable experience in this house… we are ready to have discussion on any issue but today let’s allow our retiring members to speak,” MoS Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel said.

Even as the disruptions continued, the Chairman adjourned the house for 15 minutes and called a brief meeting of floor leaders of the parties.

The protest, however, continued even after the house reassembled forcing Chairman, who was visibly upset by then, to adjourn the proceedings till Wednesday.

“I want to appeal to the entire house. This is a very important… more than 40 MPs are retiring and we want to give them farewell and wish them best of luck… they too want to share their words,” Naidu said assuring the members that all their issues will be taken up in the house.

News agency PTI reported that the members remained seated in the Rajya Sabha for almost half-an-hour after the House was adjourned for the day. Both the treasury and Opposition sides kept sitting, including the ministers and senior opposition leaders.

Leader of the House Arun Jaitley was seen in discussion with opposition leaders including Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad. It is for the 16th straight day that the House has been adjourned without transacting any business.

(With inputs from PTI)