NDA disrupts parliament, seeks Baalu’s removal

April 28th, 2008 - 8:52 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) Union Shipping and Transport Minister T.R. Baalu’s alleged misuse of office rocked parliament for the third consecutive day Monday when the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the AIADMK members disrupted the pre-lunch proceedings in both the houses. In the Rajya Sabha the opposition members walked out during the question hour, and in the Lok Sabha they returned to their seats after 35 minutes when they failed in their efforts at stalling the house proceedings.

In the upper house, where this issue was originally raised by AIADMK member V. Maitreyan April 23, (since the AIADMK has no representation in the lower house), a truce appeared evident after Leader of Opposition Jaswant Singh was allowed to make a statement and Parliament Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi rose to assure the members that he would convey their feelings to the government.

“Promotion of a company in which a member has an active interest does cause concern because it raises the issue of conflict of interest, which is prohibited in parliament,” Singh said in the upper house.

“The second issue, since the Prime Minister’s Office has written letters in response to Baalu’s letter eight times, what is the PM’s response?” he asked.

“The prime minister should come and explain to us his conduct, otherwise he should no longer continue as the PM.”

The leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also demanded an explanation from Petroleum Minister Murli Deora as to why he failed to answer even after eight reminders from the prime minister.

Earlier, when the Rajya Sabha met for question hour, Chairman Hamid Ansari disallowed the BJP, AIADMK and other NDA members from stalling the question hour.

BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Murli Manohar Joshi and Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi were leading the charge on behalf of the opposition. But they walked out when the Chair refused to yield.

In the Lok Sabha, opposition members came to the well of the house as soon as the question hour began.

They were raising slogans demanding removal of Baalu of the DMK for his alleged misuse of office to seek favour for his company.

The protesting members were shouting “Baalu ko barkhaast karo” (sack Baalu) and demanded a statement from the prime minister on the issue.

The Congress which came to Baalu’s assistance in the Rajya Sabha on earlier occasions, fulfilled that role again in the Lok Sabha Monday too, with Congress members Madhusudan Mistry and Krishna Tirath asking the NDA to leave the house and allow them to complete their pending business.

Speaker Somnath Chatterjee had a tough time controlling the house. He refused to adjourn the house and asked the members to behave themselves.

“I have told you that there is a procedure to be followed. You have to give a notice for this,” he said.

When the NDA members continued to shout slogans, he stopped the direct telecast of the proceedings on Doordarshan.

At one point, Chatterjee even asked the protesting members: “Ask yourself if you are serving the country. On what basis are people electing you?”

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