RS adjourned as Congress MPs disrupt the proceedings

Krishnanand Tripathi
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, 18 December 2017.

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, 18 December 2017.

Congress members disrupted the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha for the second day of the winter session over the insinuations made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against his predecessor Manmohan Singh forcing the adjournment of the House without transacting any legislative business.

Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien has first first adjourned the house till 12 noon barely ten minutes after it assembled on Monday.

After laying of the papers and reports by the ministers and members, Deputy chairman PJ Kurien informed the opposition benches that chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu has rejected all the notices seeking a discussion on the comments made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against his predecessor Manmohan Singh attending a meeting at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house in Delhi in which some officials from Pakistan high commission were there and issues relating to Gujarat elections were allegedly discussed.

Deputy Chairman Kurien told the opposition members that he would not allow a discussion on the issue under rule number 267 of Rajya Sabha’s rule book saying that opposition could raise the issue during the ongoing zero hour and each participating member can speak for three minutes on the subject.

However, leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad rejected the proposal of the chair.

Azad said it was not acceptable that every notice was being rejected.

The Congress leader said that charges had been leveled against the former prime minister who was a member of Rajya Sabha and demanded that a motion be allowed to moved to get a sense of the House on the issue.

“Let charges be proved,” he said. “the voice of the opposition cannot be muzzled. The House has to function according to conventions.”

Azad demanded that Prime Minister should come to the House and explain his remarks.

Kurien said no motion can be allowed and if the opposition were to resort to disruptions, he would be left with no option but to adjourn the proceedings.

Congress member Anand Sharma and former Prime Minister and senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh in Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, 18 December 2017.

Congress member Anand Sharma and former Prime Minister and senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh in Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, 18 December 2017.

Congress member Anand Sharma said neither the Prime Minister, nor any minister was beyond questioning.

It is unacceptable that the Prime Minister makes insinuations  against former prime minister, former vice president and former Indian High Commissioner. “Prime Minister has to clarify,” he said, adding that the issue at hand was about respecting the institutions and privileges.

Deputy Chairman Kurien then adjourned the house till 12 noon as Congress members had rushed to the well shouting slogans.

As the House met at noon for Question Hour after an earlier adjournment, Congress leader Anand Sharma demanded a clarification by the Prime Minister on his remarks about Singh, a sitting Rajya Sabha member.

Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu insisted on taking up a question but some Congress members were seen standing in the aisle as Sharma kept pressing his point, saying the allegations had also been made against a former vice president and also a former Army chief.

Naidu persisted on continuing with the Question Hour suggesting that a separate notice be moved which he would consider.

Meanwhile, several Congress members began shouting slogans. The vice president asked them to abstain from sloganeering saying the entire country was watching the proceedings.

However, as the pandemonium continued, a visibly agitated Naidu remarked “I do not want this kind of thing to be seen by the people” and adjourned the proceedings for the day as Congress members were seen walking into the Well.