Parliament adjourned for the day over coal saga (Third Lead)

August 23rd, 2012 - 4:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS) Both houses of parliament were adjourned for the third day Thursday as the opposition insisted on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation over the alleged faulty allocation of coal blocks.

Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha saw noisy scenes as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members kept raising slogans demanding Manmohan Singh’s exit.

As soon as the Lok Sabha met at 11, BJP members refused to allow the proceedings and rushed noisily towards Speaker Meira Kumar’s podium.

The house was adjourned till 12 noon, followed by another adjournment till 2 p.m. and later for the day.

Congress MPs were equally vociferous. Some waved copies of The Indian Express which carried a report saying opposition-ruled states had opposed auction of coal blocks.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde kept pleading with the opposition that the prime minister should be allowed to speak.

“The prime minister is ready to discuss the issue provided they (BJP) let the house function,” he said.

Similar scenes were seen in the Rajya Sabha, forcing three adjournments and finally for the day.

Here too BJP MPs raised slogans demanding the prime minister’s resignation.

However, MPs from the BJP’s ally, the Janata Dal-United, did not take part in the sloganeering. The JD-U favours a discussion on the alleged scam.

At 12.30 p.m., before the upper house was adjourned, less than 15 members from the treasury benches were present. There was no minister.

Chairman M. Hamid Ansari called an all-party meeting to end the logjam but it ended inconclusively, a member who was present said.

India’s official auditor last week revealed that the lack of transparency in the allocation of coal blocks to private players resulted in a loss of a whopping Rs.1.85 lakh crore ($37 billion) to the exchequer.

Parliament has been stalled since Tuesday over the report.

The government said that the opposition was in no mood to talk.

“Maybe by Monday they will be ready to talk, presently they are in no mood for a dialogue,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said Thursday.

Informed sources told IANS that the government was trying to call an all-party meeting Monday.

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