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Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan expunges her own remarks after Congress protests

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“I did not take name of (any) party… I will definitely expunge the ‘vested interest’ remark… I am sorry,” she said.

In a rare act, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Mond agreed to expunge her own “vested interest” remarks made yesterday against members protesting in the Well, after Congress expressed concern saying it was not right on part of the Chair to make such a remark. Soon after the House condoled the death of 10 people in a BSF plane crash yesterday, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge raised concern over the Speaker’s remarks. Yesterday when Congress members were protesting in the Well, Mahajan had said they don’t have any national interest and they only have vested interest. Noting that she did not take the name of any party while making the remarks, Mahajan today said it was made when members were protesting in the Well of the House. “I did not take name of (any) party… I will definitely expunge the ‘vested interest’ remark… I am sorry,” she said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Wondering what would happen tomorrow, Kharge said the Speaker’s remarks yesterday was unfortunate and it hurt them. “(The remarks) were not proper,” he noted. “We are bringing up issues on national interest” whether about Union Minister V K Singh or Arunachal Pradesh or any other matter, Kharge said, adding that whatever problems have happened, the government was responsible. Mahajan said “unko (Congress) bhi kisi baat ke liye dukh hua hai. Achchi baat hai ki woh sochen unki kise baat se doosre bhi aahat ho sakte hain (They are hurt for some reason. It would be good if they also think that for their actions some others might have also been hurt)”. Dissatisfied with the Speaker’s response when Congress members began to protest, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said such actions by the Opposition was not allowed in the House. “Nobody can question the conduct of the Speaker in the House,” the Minister said. Earlier when the House assembled and the Question Hour began, Congress members trooped into the Well raising slogans over Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s alleged role in the irregularities in the Delhi cricket body DDCA.Amid the protests, Jaitley and BJP MP Kirti Azad, who has also targeted the Finance Minister over the DDCA affairs, walked into the House. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Sonia Gandhi were also present in the House.

Rajya Sabha passes SC/ST Bill, supplementary demands without debate

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The House returned to Lok Sabha the Appropriation (No. 4) Bill and the Appropriation (No. 5) Bill containing the second batch of supplementary demands as part of grants for 2015-16 to meet government’s expenditure.
File Photo

After days of adjournments, the Rajya Sabha unanimously passed the crucial SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill along with two bills on supplementary demands for 2015-16, within minutes without any debate.The House returned to Lok Sabha the Appropriation (No. 4) Bill and the Appropriation (No. 5) Bill containing the second batch of supplementary demands as part of grants for 2015-16 to meet government’s expenditure. As the House reassembled at 2 PM after four adjournments earlier, the Opposition criticised the government’s move to bring the Juvenile Justice Bill through the supplementary agenda route.Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad objected to this saying that the ruling party itself was complicating the issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have said that we want to pass the SC/ST Bill. At the all-party meeting, I had said that the Juvenile Justice Bill should be tabled. But it was not in agenda today. But because of media reports, the government has now put it in the supplementary business. It is only a ruse to shame the opposition in public by saying that we had presented (the bill) but the opposition had objected,” Azad said.He said the matter can be taken up tomorrow and should be listed as the first in the business. “This is being done only so that the media and public criticise us. Don’t use the House to play the media,” Azad said.Following this, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien took up the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2015. This was passed unanimously through a voice vote without any discussion. Congress leader Hussain Dalwai did not move his motion for certain amendments after his party asked him not to do so. There was thumping on the desk as the House passed the Bill. The two Appropriations Bills were also passed in a similar manner without any discussion.TMC leader Derek O’Brien stood up and told the Chair that it was important to mention that the Bills were passed unanimously and not in a din. To this, a smiling Kurien said, “How can there be din? There is perfect calm and tranquility. Everybody is cool. A cool breeze is blowing. I don’t know where this breeze is coming from”.As Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi sought taking up of more Bills, Azad hit back saying, “all of us have agreed and I said we will pass Bills in the next three days. We had said we will pass the SC/ST Bill and we have fulfilled our promise.””We have shown our efficiency, capability and cooperation by passing the three Bills in such a short time. We should not be penalised for our efficiency”. Naqvi then stood up and urged the opposition to “show some more strength”.The opposition members argued that it was decided at the all-party meeting that after the passage of the Bills, there would be debates on issues like intolerance, floods, price rise and the issue of Arunachal Pradesh, on which there was an agreement. The Congress received support from CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury who said discussion on these issues should be taken up after the bills have been passed.As Naqvi insisted that more bills be passed on Monday, Congress members came into the aisles and then entered the Well shouting slogans demanding the resignation of the Finance Minister over alleged bungling in the DDCA. Kurien then adjourned the House till 3 PM.

DDCA row: Government rules out Arun Jaitley’s resignation

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“No one will resign,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said as slogan-shouting Congress members demanded Jaitley’s resignation.

Arun Jaitley
File Photo
PTI
Government on Monday categorically ruled out resignation of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over allegations of corruption in Delhi cricket body DDCA which he headed till 2013, as Congress member disrupted proceedings of Rajya Sabha.”No one will resign,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said as slogan-shouting Congress members demanded Jaitley’s resignation. No one will resign over “false charges” levelled against them, he asserted. But Congress members continued to shout slogans, forcing two adjournments in the pre-noon session.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soon after listed papers were laid on the table, placard holding Congress members were up on their feet shouting slogans seeking Jaitley’s resignation. Jaitley said he was ready to reply to all charges and urged the Chair to ask Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad to raise a discussion immediately.”I am not going to live by any vague statements,” Jaitely said, adding “if they have a single statement, let him (Azad) make it right now. I will answer it right now.” He was responding to Azad’s statement that many big allegations including that of a Rs 150 crore fraud, 14 bogus companies being floated and conflict of interest at DDCA, have been in discussion for several days now.Demanding a discussion, Azad said “he (Jaitley) can’t remain on the position.”Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said there is a procedure for levelling allegations against a member of the House or a minister and a prior notice to the concerned has to be given. He then went on to expunge all allegations against the Finance Minister.But Congress members were unrelenting and continued to raise slogans. They held placards that read: “First Resign, Then Discussion” and “Caesar’s Wife Should Be Above Suspicion.””Whey are you allowing all this noise. Ask him to start discussion right now. I will answer it right now,” Jaitley said.Kurien said the Leader of the House was ready for discussion and the Congress should give notice for discussion.”Sir, do I assume that they have nothing to say except raise slogans,” Jaitley remarked as Congress members continued to shout slogans. The slogan shouting intensified after Naqvi ruled out resignation, forcing Kurien to adjourn the House for 15 minutes.

My Govt stable, crisis created by Governor, claims Arunachal CM Nabam Tuki

A no confidence motion was moved by 11 BJP MLAs and two Independents on Thursday, which was adopted by Deputy Speaker T. Norbu Thongdok, a ‘rebel Congressman’ in the Chair.

Supporters of Chief Minister Nabam Tuki block the highway at Papu Nallah in Naharlagun, Itanagar, Arunachal Prdaesh on Thursday.

PTI
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki on Thursday said ‘his popularly elected government is stable’, and alleged that the crisis was created by Governor J.P. Rajkhowa”It’s a popularly elected government. There is no crisis from our side, it is created by the Governor,” he told ANI.A no confidence motion was moved by 11 BJP MLAs and two Independents on Thursday, which was adopted by Deputy Speaker T. Norbu Thongdok, a ‘rebel Congressman’ in the Chair. As many as 33 members of the 60-member House, including 20 Congress dissidents, later elected Kalikho Pul, another Congressman dissident, as the new Chief Minister.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Tuki and 26 MLAs supporting him boycotted the proceedings, dubbing as ‘illegal and unconstitutional’.”The 14 dissidents are not rebels, as they have already lost membership of the party. They don’t attend party’s meet, and are directly going to the media. They were found attending BJP meets, hence disqualified. At present, the assembly has just 44 members, of them 11 are from the BJP and two Independents,” Tuki said, while buttressing his claims.He said he had written to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and appealed to them to save democracy.”I believe in the judiciary, and the Assam High Court has stayed the orders of the Governor till February 1. The composite floor test is illegal, since the assembly session is not called, and the matter is sub judice,” he added.Meanwhile, the Congress on Thursday said there could be no business in the Rajya Sabha, because of the recent political developments in Arunachal Pradesh. Briefing media in New Delhi, leader of opposition in the Upper House Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Central government is using the Governor, who is upholder of the Constitution, for political gains. He alleged that the Centre is trying to destabilise Arunchal Pradesh government.In reply to a query, another spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala clarified that the Congress Party has not called any of its state leaders to Delhi on December 19.

Congress disrupts both houses of Parliament, third day running

Strap: Derogatory remarks in LS, National Herald case in RS lead to walkouts, multiple adjournments

Members protest in the Rajya Sabha during the ongoing winter session of Parliament on Thursday

PTI
The Congress party continued to paralyse the workings of the Rajya Sabha for the third day in the row over the National Herald case. The House was adjourned six times on Thursday, as Congress members entered the Well of the House, every time the proceedings resumed. In the Lok Sabha where the BJP enjoys a majority, the debate on drought resumed after one adjournment when the Congress staged a walkout, followed by Trinamool Congress, demanding suspension of the BJP’sthree-time MP Virendra Singh for “derogatory remarks” against Congress leaders during the drought debate on Wednesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge asserted that Virendra Singh’s personal attack on Rahul Gandhi and others had degraded the dignity of Parliament and exposed the ‘vendetta politics’ of the ruling dispensation. He took strong objection to the ministers supporting the BJP member. “If the government supports such people, we are not going to tolerate it. Unless you suspend him or there is an unconditional apology, it will affect the dignity of members,” Kharge said before leading a walkout against the “intolerant” conduct of the BJP MP.
In the Upper House, despite repeated appeals from the Chair to maintain discipline and with the BJP ready to discuss the Deccan Herald issue, the Congress refused to initiate any discussion and continued to raiseslogans against the Prime Minister. “Modi teri tanashahi, nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi (Modi your dictatorship – will not work). No sooner did Congress members enter the Well of the House, than Union health minister JP Nadda said,”Sir we are ready for a discussion immediately.” Supporting Nadda’s view, deputy chairman PJ Kurien tooappealed to the Congress to participate in the debate. The Congress members however refused to break the ice, forcing an adjournment of the House. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs made a point of order appealing to chairman Hamid Ansari to take action against members for stalling the proceedings. “If the members don’t want to participate, they may be asked to leave. Some people cannot hold the House to ransom for personal gains. I appeal to the chair to take necessary action,” he said. When the Rajya Sabha was resumed for the third time post the lunch break, Congress members again entered the well of the House hooting and howling. Asking the members to maintain decorum in the House, deputychairman, PJ Kurien said, “You can raise slogans, please at least don’t howl.”

Proceedings in Parliament stalled due to Congress protest

Congress members in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha stormed into the Well no sooner had they met for the day, protesting over the “politics of revenge”.

Parliament proceedings stalled
File Photo

A vociferous Congress on Tuesday forced adjournment of both Houses of Parliament till 11.30 hours, a day party president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi were asked to appear before court in connection with the National Herald case.Congress members in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha stormed into the Well no sooner had they met for the day, protesting over the “politics of revenge”.The court on Tuesday allowed the exemption plea of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others for the day. In Lok Sabha, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asked Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge to explain what his party was protesting against. But Kharge did not respond to her as Sonia Gandhi, sitting next to him, gestured him apparently not to say anything.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After hearing Speaker’s call, TMC leader Sudeep Bandopadhyay also told Gandhi to respond to the Chair. She responded to him in gestures but could not be heard in the din. TMC members were also on their feet but the reason for their protest could not be known due to the din.Similar scenes were witnessed in Rajya Sabha where slogan shouting Congress members stormed the Well as soon as it met for the day. They raised slogans like “Tanashahi nahi chalegi” (dictatorship will not be tolerated)” and “Badle ke rajnathi nahi chalegi (politics of revenge).Deputy Chairman P J Kurien got listed papers of the day tabled amidst the din and asked Congress members to go back to their places and explain the reason for their protest. “Instead of shouting slogan, one of you stand up and say what is your grievance,” he said. “Let me also know… I am not able to understand anything.” Congress member however did not pay heed to his requests and continued shouting slogans.Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said their problem is the court not the government. Congress, he said, should respect the judicial process and work under the due process of law.”At least the Chair must know what is the grievance, what is the provocation,” Kurien said as he asked if the Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad would like to say anything. Azad however did not oblige. With Congress members unrelenting, both Houses were adjourned till 1130 hours.

How govt averted an embarrassing situation in Rajya Sabha

Normally, private member bills, except in a rare few cases, are withdrawn by those moving them after a reply from the government.

Doing a quick thinking, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi pointed to the Chair that the House does not have quorum for voting.

Disfavouring inclusion of certain castes under the SC category, government was today on the verge of facing an embarrassing situation in Rajya Sabha when a private member bill on it was about to be put to vote but it was averted as the ruling side cited lack of quorum.The situation almost reached the embarrassing point for the government as Vishambhar Prasad Nishad of Samajwadi Party, who had moved the bill, insisted on putting it to vote, rejecting pleas for withdrawing it. As Nishad remained adamant on voting, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien started the process of voting on the bill.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Normally, private member bills, except in a rare few cases, are withdrawn by those moving them after a reply from the government. “If he is not withdrawing, I will have to put it to vote,” Kurien said. Sensing an unpleasant situation, some members of BJP, including a minister, went out of the House which was left with 21 members altogether.Doing a quick thinking, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi pointed to the Chair that the House does not have quorum for voting.As per the rules, the House should have at least 10 per cent of members of the total strength present for quorum. In the case of Rajya Sabha, presence of at least 25 members is required for quorum. Since the House did not have as many members, it was adourned for the day. Earlier, replying to the bill, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot urged the member to withdraw the bill saying that the Centre cannot include castes like Mallah, Goriya and Kashyap under SC as the Registrar General (RGI) has rejected the UP government’s proposal twice.”Recommendation of RGI is binding for us. RGI has rejected the UP government’s proposal twice, the government of India cannot include these castes mentioned by the member under SC,” he said. A

After Lok Sabha adjourns, Narendra Modi shakes hands with members across party lines

Just as the House adjourned for the day after the Prime Minister’s speech, in which he said consensus was more important than majority rule, and adoption of a resolution in the House, Modi exchanged pleasantries with some members, cutting across party lines.

“We are wearing similar clothes” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said sharing a lighter moment with Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.Just as the House adjourned for the day after the Prime Minister’s speech, in which he said consensus was more important than majority rule, and adoption of a resolution in the House, Modi exchanged pleasantries with some members, cutting across party lines.While most leaders from the Congress benches had left, Kharge, was there watching from the other side of the aisle. He was about to leave when home minister Rajnath Singh called him out. Kharge responded saying “Modiji….. Dil nahi mile tho kya, haat tho mila sakten hain (even if hearts dont meet, we can shake hands).” He then went over to the Prime Minister and shook hands with him. Modi, who like Kharge, was wearing a white-kurta pyjama and cream Nehru jacket, then took note of the similarity in clothes and two laughed. Kharge then also shook hands with the home minister.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The differences during the debate were apparently put aside. Kharge had contested the Prime Minister’s claim that his government had ensured minimum pension of Rs 1000 to benefit those under EPFO, saying it was the UPA government that had taken the decision. Kharge had sparked an uproar from the treasury benches on Thursday when he said “any attempt to review the Constitution could result in…consequences.” The word he used was expunged by the Chair after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu called it an attempt to “threaten” the government.Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had demanded during the debate an assurance from the government that the Constitution would not be amended further and that there would be no review of reservation as suggested by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, also came up to Modi and the two shook hands and exchanged pleasantries.Before that, senior leader LK Advani, shook hands with Modi before he left the House. Advani, along with two other mps—Murli Manohar Joshi and Shanta Kumar besides another party veteran, Yashwant Sinha, had put out a statement taking on the BJP leadership after the NDA’s defeat in Bihar. While Shanta Kumar was present in the House, Joshi was out of town.During his speech, which was attended by a nearly packed House, after a two-day scathing debate on the Constitution and BR Ambedkar, Modi had reached out to the Opposition saying “the sanctity of the Constitution, it is our responsibility. We must not forget that people give us power when we move together in consensus… Consensus is more important than majority rule.”Modi not only rejected the idea of reviewing the Constitution saying it would be like committing suicide, he also praised the role of all previous governments.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan terms Congress protests as ‘murder of democracy’

New Delhi: Unabated uproar by Congress members in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday invited the wrath of Speaker Sumitra Mahajan who called their protests “murder of democracy” and “hijacking” the rights of 440 members by 40-50 others in the Opposition.

Mahajan also asked the Lok Sabha TV, which broadcasts live proceedings of the House, to show the “irresponsible” opposition members so that the whole country could see their behaviour.

Sumitra Mahajan. PTISumitra Mahajan. PTI

Sumitra Mahajan. PTI

The Speaker’s angry response came as protesting members intensified their slogan-shouting in the Well and the Chair refused to adjourn the House and deciding to continue with the work.

Many Congress members were seen raising placards close to the Speaker’s podium so that they could be seen on camera, prompting Parliamentary Affairs Ministry M venkaiah Naidu to launch an attack on the main opposition party Congress, before Mahajan too spoke against it.

“What is this happening? 20 people cannot dictate the entire House. Let action be taken. What kind of tamasha is this? They go to the Speaker’s house to protest and are now showing placards on the face of the Speaker,” Naidu said as Congress members raised slogans on their demands.

Naidu’s response came after BJP veteran L K Advani was too seen expressing concern over the disruptions to Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Naidu.

Congress is insisting that it would not allow Parliament to function till action is taken against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and BJP chief ministers Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan for their alleged role in Lalit Modi and Vyapam controversies.

As Naidu spoke, Mahajan lamented “what can be done” before attacking the protesting members, some of whom were apparently urging her to adjourn the House.

“Show them on TV. I am requesting the Lok Sabha TV. This is not the way. I won’t adjourn the House… Let people see what kind of behaviour they are showing. Let whole of India watch. 40 people are hijacking the rights of 440 members.

“This is murder of democracy. This is not democracy. 440 members want to talk and 40-50 members are not letting them. Let people know how irresponsible they are. The Chair has no wish of being seen on the TV. Let people watch them,” she said.

PTI

Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2.30 PM following continued Congress protests

After the Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjounred to 12 PM after the noisy Congress protests, it has been further adjourned to 2.30 PM.

Sonia Gandhi at Congress protest against suspension of MPs

Photo Courtesy: ANI Twitter
As Rajya Sabha proceedings were disrupted again on Friday because of protesting Congress members who trooped into the Well raising slogans against ‘dictatorial’ attitude of the government in suspending 25 of their Lok Sabha MPs, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi charged the Congress with not wanting to participate in a discussion on the issues it was raising. As unrelenting Congress members continued to raise slogans, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien adjourned the House till 12 PM. The session was adjourned for the second time to 2.30 PM because of the continuing ruckus by protesting Congress members. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soon after the House mourned the death of former member Jagannath Singh, paid homage to freedom fighters and the listed papers were laid, Naresh Agarwal (SP) said he had given a notice under rule 267 seeking suspension of business to raise the issue of three BJP MPs writing to Chairman seeking action against Congress members protesting against Lalitgate and Vyapam scam.The SP member alleged that the BJP MPs, who Agarwal did not name, had tried to “pressurise” the Chairman by writing to him seeking action against the Congress members for entering the Well of the House under rule 255 and 256.Rule 255 relates to Chairman asking any member whose conduct is in his opinion grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately from the Council, while Rule 256 relates to the Chairman suspending a member who disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses rules of the Council by persistently and willfully obstructing the business.As Kurien asked Agarwal how he got a copy of the letter written by BJP MPs, slogan-shouting Congress members trooped into the Well of the House. They shouted “Tanashahi nahi chalegi (dictatorial attitude will not be tolerated)” and “Modishahi Nahi chalegi.” Kurien said he had given the floor to Agarwal and asked Congress members if they did not want to hear him, but the members continued their noisy protest from the Well.Rajya Sabha has failed to transact any business ever since it met for the Monsoon session from July 21. The Congress has upped its protests by boycotting the Lower House and staging a dharna inside the Parliament complex since 25 of its Lok Sabha MPs were suspended by the Speaker on Monday.

Parliament bedlam: BJP scores as the stalling strategy of Congress crumbles

Rahul Gandhi’s stated strategy of “no discussion without resignations” in Parliament seems to have put the Congress in a tight spot. Sensing the main Opposition party’s growing isolation in its strategy to stall Parliament, the Narendra Modi government has began using every available second to make its position heard, in both houses of Parliament.

In the Lok Sabha, the Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and the government have decided to tire out Congress members by running the day’s agenda despite the slogan-shouting in the well.

Meanwhile in the Rajya Sabha, the government’s strategy to pre-empt a discussion on Lalitgate and amid the din, field Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj almost out-of-nowhere, caught the Congress completely off-guard. Slogan-shouting Congress members already in the well, raised their voices to drown out Swaraj, but the acclaimed orator utilised the few seconds she was afforded to articulate the operative part of her statement — that the Congress’ allegations were baseless and misleading, and that she never made a request to the British government to facilitate travel documents for Lalit Modi.

MPs shout slogans in the Lok Sabha well. PTI

MPs shout slogans in the Lok Sabha well. PTI

The treasury benches would have liked her to finish her statement, but the Deputy Chairman P J Kurien adjourned the Rajya Sabha. Speculation surrounds the Congress’ decision to prevent her from completing the statement. After all, the main Opposition party could have continued its protests after the statement had been made. Regardless, the Congress now realises that with the external affairs minister’s statement — or a fragment of it — delivered on the floor of the House, the BJP has claimed a minor victory.

After her curtailed statement instantly made the headlines, the Congress began to grab at straws and cited minor technicalities — the minister’s statement was made without notice or the permission of the Chair, and so it should not be allowed to become part of the record. Further, they demanded that the Rajya Sabha secretariat issue an advisory to the media that the statement may not be reported until a specific ruling to this effect was given by the Chair. The matter was raised by Rahul Gandhi’s trusted leader Madhusudan Mistri and was subsequently taken up by deputy leader Anand Sharma, who referred to their displeasure at television channels picking up from her brief statement and making it a headline.

The BJP pounced on Sharma’s statement with a strong counter-attack. Finance Minister and Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said, “For two weeks, baseless and unsubstantiated allegations were being made against the minister and she had every right to respond to it. Agar unke teen minute ke jawab se haalat itni kharaab ho gayi toh pura jawab sunne ke baad kaisi haalat hogi (If they were so troubled by three minutes of her statement, just imagine their state after hearing the full statement).”

The Congress stood isolated in the House. The only supportive voice came belonged to CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury. The fact that the Samajwadi Party had, in the morning, asked for a discussion on food in the parliamentary canteen — how much was consumed by the MPs, staff, visitors and media personnel respectively — and the “no work, no pay” demand, but later in the afternoon, the party along with the JD(U) wanted to discuss the agriculture minister’s controversial remark on farmer suicides instead, was an indicator of divisions in the Congress’ rank.

The situation was no better in the Lower House, which actually had a short discussion on farmer suicides in the Congress-ruled state of Karnataka, even as Congress members continued to shout slogans and wave placards in the well. Once again, the Congress saw its support base dwindle.

The party’s disruptionist strategy was planned at its meeting that saw Sonia Gandhi strongly endorse Rahul Gandhi’s mantra of no discussion without resignations. The subsequent series of events in the both Houses of Parliament revealed the difficulty the Congress faced in sustaining its “total washout” while keeping public opinion on its side.

After trying to shout down Minister for Home Affairs Rajnath Singh in the Rajya Sabha obn Thursday while he was making a statement on last week’s terror attack in Gurdaspur, the Congress altered its strategy the next day and listened to him attentively in the Lok Sabha. Singh used the opportunity to target the Congress by criticising the coinage of the term “Hindu terrorism” by the UPA government. Although Singh’s statement coupled with his subsequent dig at Jawaharlal Nehru sparked off a huge debate outside Parliament, from the BJP’s perspective, he had claimed a victory.

The important bills pending for passage in Monsoon session include the Goods and Services Tax Bill, Land Bill, Real Estate Regulator Bill, Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill to replace an Ordinance etc. Of these, four major bills — GST, Protection of Whistleblowers, Juvenile Justice and Repealing of Appropriation Acts —have  already been passed by the Lok Sabha, and are awaiting discussion and passage in the Rajya Sabha.

Meanwhile, the all-party meeting convened by the government, expectedly ended without any resolution to the stalemate. The Congress leadership’s capacity to stall parliamentary proceedings without the support of its allies will be tested for another eight days. And while some party members are not pleased with the situation, they have no choice but to quietly comply with their political boss’ instructions.

Heated exchanges over Sushma Swaraj’s remarks leads to Rajya Sabha adjournment

Congress members had moved into the Well the moment she rose to speak. Kurien also said the Prime Minister cannot respond unless a discussion, as demanded, gets started.

Sushma Swaraj in Rajya Sabha said that she didn’t make any request to the British government for issue of travel documents to Lalit Modi and asserted that all allegations against her were “baseless and unfounded”
File Photo
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Opposition protests and their heated exchanges with BJP members led to the adjournment of Rajya Sabha today without transacting much business after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj defended herself over allegations of impropriety as Congress members asked how could she give a statement without the Chair’s permission.No legislative business could be conducted through the day, as the House witnessed two adjournments before being adjourned for the day due to vociferous opposition protests seeking resignation of Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for allegedly helping controversial former IPL chief Lalit Modi and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the Vyapam scam.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the House saw a full-throated debate on procedures after it met at 2 PM, it was adjourned for the day as strong disagreement prevailed on the issue between the ruling and opposition sides. Soon after the House assembled, Swaraj managed to speak a few sentences during Zero Hour saying she had not made any request to the British government for issue of travel documents to Lalit Modi and asserted that all allegations against her were “baseless and unfounded”, amid thumping of desks by her party colleagues. She could not complete her remarks as slogan-shouting by Congress members led Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to adjourn the House for the first time till noon.Congress members had moved into the Well the moment she rose to speak. Kurien also said the Prime Minister cannot respond unless a discussion, as demanded, gets started. Seizing on Kurien’s statement, Leader of the House Arun Jaitley said Swaraj would make a statement to initiate the debate in the absence of unwillingness of Congress to initiate it. However, the continued ruckus led to the adjournment of the House.When it met for the Question Hour at noon, Congress members were again on their feet demanding resignations of Swaraj and two other chief ministers. Some of them also demanded the resignation of HRD Minister Smriti Irani, who was present in the House at that time, on the row over her educational qualifications. When Chairman Hamid Ansari announced taking up of the Question Hour, Madhusudan Mistry (Cong) got up to raise a point of order questioning how Swaraj could make a statement without giving a notice and sought its expunction from the records. However, he was not allowed to speak any further. As disruptions continued, Ansari adjourned the House for the second time till 2 PM.When the House reassembled, Mistry again raised the issue saying that mediapersons were calling Swaraj’s remarks in the House as a statement when procedures required for making a statement had not been followed. He sought a ruling from the Chair and said Swaraj’s remarks should not be made part of the records of the proceedings of the House.Responding to Mistry, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, who was in the chair, said he would examine whether Swaraj had made a statement or if she was reacting to what had been said by Deputy leader of opposition Anand Sharma.Defending Swaraj, Leader of the House Arun Jaitley then said that if for two weeks “baseless allegations” were being made against the minister, then “she certainly has a right to respond.” Not satisfied, Congress members pressed for their demand seeking a ruling with some of them moving in protest towards the Well, with some of them carrying placards asking the Prime Minister to “break his silence” and remove “tainted elements”. Chiding the opposition members, Kurien asked how could they question the minister for speaking without the Chair’s permission when they themselves were acting without his permission.Congress MP Pramod Tewari and then, Deputy leader in the House Anand Sharma then stood up seeking a ruling into the matter, saying normally it is the Chair that calls for a Minister to make a statement.In this case, he said Leader of the House Arun Jaitley had said that Swaraj will speak. He also suggested that the media be advised not to project her remarks as a statement till a ruling was given by the Chair. Sharma said there was a stalemate in the House because of the government’s “arrogance”. “This House cannot be in order unless issues have been responded to by the Prime Minister on fixing accountability and responsibility.” Government is not serious, he said demanding a response from the Prime Minister. Kurien said “unless you start the discussion, Prime Minister cannot respond.”This moment was seized upon by Jaitley who said if Sharma was unwilling to initiate a discussion, Swaraj will make a statement to start the discussion. He also said if Swaraj’s statement is expunged from the records, all allegations against her made by the opposition without the Chair’s permission should also be struck off.Kurien said though no permission for a statement was sought but asked why could Swaraj not reply to charges against her. “Why do you worry if she replies,” he asked agitated opposition members. Kurien however added that Swaraj’s remarks could not be considered as a statement by a minister in the House.CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury raised a point asking if a motion moved by a member could be made public by the Leader of the House before it is admitted by the Chair. When he said the Leader of the House had done so, Jaitley quoted rules to defend his stand and maintained there was no violation of norms.JD(U) member K C Tyagi then stood up and said Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh had made “insensitive” statement by saying that farmers were committing suicides because of “failed affairs and impotency”. He said the farmers’ sentiments had been hurt and the Minister should be called to the House to explain. Naresh Agarwal (SP) also expressed similar views.All through this, Congress members continued with their protests on procedures related to Swaraj’s comments, shouting slogans in the Well, forcing Kurien to adjourn the proceedings till tomorrow.

War of decibels in Lok Sabha

It was the ninth day of the monsoon session when Parliament failed to take up any legislative business. The productivity so far is nine per cent, according PRS data.

It took less than 24 hours for parliamentarians to put aside Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s pleas to stick to the rule book in the House. Opposition members neither gave up holding placards nor entering the well of Lok Sabha on Friday.Like most other days, the visitors’ galleries were full of school children who had come to witness Parliament proceedings. In the House, Opposition members entered the well of the House holding placards and continued to shout slogans against the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi while the Chair persisted with conducting business during the question hour and zero hour.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It was the ninth day of the monsoon session when Parliament failed to take up any legislative business. The productivity so far is nine per cent, according PRS data.Mahajan had apparently changed tack, determined not to adjourn the House, while the Opposition raised the pitch of its sloganeering, trying to overpower the voices of those speaking from the ruling side. It was only after the question hour, a statement by home minister Rajnath Singh on the Gurdaspur attack and tabling of parliamentary panel reports, that she adjourned the House, half an hour before lunch time. When the House met at 2 pm, Opposition members, including Congress and Trinamool Congress, took on Singh for making a political speech after making a statement on Gurdaspur terror attack.The Opposition had taken a break from its protests to hear the statement. After the statement, Singh said he wanted to add something. “Terrorism is the biggest challenge facing the country. Neither Parliament nor the country should appear divided on this… On the one hand, our jawans making the supreme sacrifice while fighting against terror, on the other we have this noise and disruption. How can the country accept this,” he said. The Opposition started protesting. Singh said “in this House in 2013, the then Home Minister (P Chidambaram) had coined the new terminology ‘Hindu terrorism’ to change the direction of probe. It weakened our fight. As a consequence, Hafiz Sayeed (LeT founder) of Pakistan had congratulated the then Home Minister. Our government will never allow such a shameful situation again.” Later, Kharge said Singh’s statement was aimed at defaming the UPA government. “This should not be politicized. You should not make political… You are playing politics; and we will not tolerate it… Therefore, Sir, I would request you that whatever extra he had said apart from his suo motu , should be expunged and it should not be made part of the proceedings,” he said. TMC’s Saugata Roy said Singh had gone “into a rampaging speech where he accused people of having raised Hindu terrorism, where he raised the question of Sharm-el-Sheikh. Now when the House is totally united on the matter of rooting out terrorism from the country, this statement by the Home Minister was against the rule because it was not circulated and it brought a division in the House… I would like you to examine the Home Minister’s speech and it is out of the prepared statement. What he said was not circulated to us.” But, deputy speaker M Thambidurai continued with zero hour mentions. Opposition members, including Congress and Left, entered the well of the House and resumed their protest. The treasury benches, including some ministers, watched hoping that the protestors will tire out. As their throats seemed to be going dry with slogan-shouting, Congress leaders were seen giving their members some throat soothing doses. Some slogans like “56 inch kya hua” directly targeted the Prime Minister. Among those in the well were Ranjita, wife of Pappu Yadav, who was sitting in one of middle rows and even made a zero hour mention against the law and order situation in Bihar under the Nitish Kumar government. Congress President Sonia Gandhi was present in the House all through the protest. BJP leader LK Advani, left the House after a while. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor stood behind the protestors, poring over some papers, but refrained from entering the well or shouting slogans.

Congress moves breach of privilege notice against Arun Jaitley for RS remarks

Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry has moved a notice of breach of privilege against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley alleging that remarks by him showed Rajya Sabha in a poor light.

Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry has moved a notice of breach of privilege against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley alleging that remarks by him showed Rajya Sabha in a poor light.PTI sources in Parliament said Mistry on Friday submitted a notice of breach of privilege to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari against Jaitley, the Leader of Rajya Sabha.Mistry, a Congress General Secretary, referred to Jaitley”s remarks here that a directly-elected House (Lok Sabha) is repeatedly questioned by the indirectly-elected House, that is Rajya Sabha.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mistry claimed that the Finance Minister made these remaks on May 15 while responding to a question on Opposition criticism over bypassing of legislative agenda by terming a Bill as a money Bill.”He (Jaitley) cited Article 110 of the Constitution, which defines a money Bill, and said it is a serious question in a parliamentary democracy wherein wisdom of directly-elected House is questioned repeatedly by the indirectly-elected House,” sources quoted Mistry as saying in the notice.Through such remarks, Jaitley has “seriously, deliberately and wilfully” questioned the authority of the Upper House and has lowered its dignity, alleged Mistry.He said that since the remarks were reported after the House was adjourned sine die, he is moving the notice now ahead of the commecement of the Monsoon session of Parliament on July 21. He requested the Chair to refer the matter to the Privileges Committee.

Will take up Lakhvi release issue in next meet, UN assures India

United Nations: A UNSC committee has assured India that it will take up the issue of Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi at its next meeting, after India expressed concern that the LeT commander’s release from a Pakistani jail violates the provisions of the global body.

India’s Ambassador to the UN Asoke Mukerji had written a letter to the Chair of the UNSC Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee Ambassador Jim McLay expressing concern over Lakhvi’s release and said it violates the provisions of the committee concerning al-Qaeda and associated individuals and entities.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

India also pointed out that as a listed terrorist, Lakhvi can neither receive or give money since all his assets and financial resources have to be frozen. Any bail money posted for Lakhvi is also a violation of the provisions of the sanctions committee since he is listed terrorist.

Acknowledging India’s concerns, McLay has responded to India’s letter and assured that the matter will be discussed at the next meeting of the committee, sources here told PTI.

The next meeting of the committee is expected to take place in the next few days.

The committee had listed in December 2008 Lakhvi as a terrorist associated with LeT and Al-Qaeda for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts of activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of” both entities.

As a listed terrorist, Lakhvi is subject to assets freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo.

The committee said that as chief of operations and military commander of LeT, Lakhvi has directed its operations, including in Iraq and South-East Asia.

“In past years, Lakhvi has played an important role in LeT fundraising activities, receiving donations from Al-Qaeda affiliates on behalf of LeT. He has also managed a training camp in Afghanistan,” according to the committee website.

The release of Lakhvi had also raised concerns in the US, UK, Russia, France and Germany with Washington calling for him to be rearrested.

Lakhvi and six others, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum, have been charged with planning and executing the Mumbai attack in November, 2008 that left 166 people dead.

Lakhvi, 55, a close relative of LeT founder and Jamaat-Ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, was arrested in December 2008 and was indicted along with the six others on November 25, 2009 in connection with the 26/11 attack case.

The trial has been underway since 2009.

A Pakistani court had on April 9 set free Lakhvi, a move which India said “eroded” the value of assurances repeatedly conveyed to it by Pakistan on cross-border terrorism.

PTI

Bihar: Several injured in Patna as police lathicharge ABVP protesters

Patna: Police fired several rounds in air and lathicharged protesting ABVP workers who tried to reach state Assembly to protest deterioration in education system in the state.

Representational image. Agencies

Representational image. Agencies

Several persons have been injured in the lathicharge and stone pelting between protesters and policemen at R-block, near the Assembly, police said.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Upendra Kumar Sinha and Senior Superintendent of Police Jitendra Rana have reached the spot with additional police force to control the situation, they said.

The DIG told PTI its difficult to count the injured due to commotion.

The ABVP workers were taking out “Vidhan sabha march” from Gandhi Maidan to Assembly to protest deterioration of education system in Bihar.

Policemen and eyewitnesses said that police had to open fire in air when ABVP protesters scaled iron gates at R-block and broke barricade to march towards Assembly as part of their agitation.

One protester fainted during police action.

A strong contingent of policemen have been deployed to stop protesters from reaching Assembly building.

Earlier, BJP members created ruckus in support of adjournment notice given by four BJP members in Legislative Assembly to protest deterioration in education system in Bihar.

Leader of Opposition in Assembly Nand Kishore Yadav demanded the Speaker to take up the issue first and when the Chair did not oblige the BJP members trooped into well and shouted anti-government slogans.

With situation refusing to improve, Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary adjourned the house till 2 pm.

BJP members created pandemonium in Legislative Council too on the same issue forcing adjournment of the Council till 2.30 pm.

PTI