With Rajya Sabha not functioning, Chairman calls off dinner for MPs

RSTV Bureau
Protests continue in Rajya Sabha on March 20, 2018. The House was adjourned soon after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a statement confirming the death of missing Indians in Iraq.

Protests continue in Rajya Sabha on March 20, 2018. The House was adjourned soon after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a statement confirming the death of missing Indians in Iraq.

Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu has called off the dinner he was to host for the members of the Upper House on Wednesday, owing to the non-functioning of the house due to incessant protest.

The Rajya Sabha proceedings have been locked in a stalemate with MPs from Opposition as well BJP allies keeping up their protest on the issues of PNB fraud, Andhra Pradesh special status and Cauvery water dispute.

Even though the Chairman has repeatedly urged the members to resume proceedings assuring that all issues will be taken up, there has been no end to the disruptions.

The Rajya Sabha has not functioned for the past 12 working days in a row, which makes it third week running after it resumed for the second leg of the Budget session on 5th March.

All preparations for the proposed dinner were put in place last week and Naidu had even spoken to President Ramnath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Leader of the House Arun Jaitley, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and several floor leaders inviting them for the dinner. Invitation cards too were kept ready.

The Chairman was expecting Rajya Sabha to get back to normal work before sending out the invites and had hoped that this week may bring in a turn-around in the situation. However, it was not to be.

At the daily meeting with floor leaders in his chamber on Tuesday, Chairman Naidu while conveying his anguish over the ongoing stalemate in the House informed them of his decision to call off the dinner to be hosted tomorrow.

According to sources, the Chairman was of the view that it would not be appropriate to go ahead with the dinner with the House not functioning for over two weeks.

Specialist cooks who were to come from Andhra Pradesh were yesterday asked to cancel their train reservation. Last week, Chairman Naidu had even refused to inaugurate a badminton tournament for MPs at the Constitution Club.