BJP targets Chidambaram, stalls parliament (Roundup)

August 10th, 2011 - 7:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday raised a chorus for Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s resignation and stalled proceedings in both houses of parliament to protest a police crackdown on its workers in the capital a day earlier.

The Lok Sabha began its day with shouts of “Chidambaram isteefa do” (step down Chidambaram). Shiv Sena MPs also protested, but against “police brutalities” on farmers near Pune.

The Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha witnessed repeated disruptions following noisy protests before they were adjourned for the day without conducting any significant legislative business or a debate on any issue.

“We want Chidambaram’s resignation and there will be no compromise on the issue,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters outside parliament after the adjournments.

The police action on the activists of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, youth wing of the BJP, at Jantar Mantar in the capital led to abrupt adjournment of parliament’s proceedings Tuesday evening when a debate related to the Commonwealth Games audit report was on.

The activists turned violent as they reached Parliament Street during their demonstration. Police said they first tried to stop the demonstrators as they were trying to march to parliament, and later used batons and water cannons to disperse the mob.

Dozens of people were injured in the demonstrations to press for Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s resignation over Commonwealth Games-related irregularities.

The BJP directly blamed the home minister for the crackdown.

“We have cornered Chidambaram on the issue of corruption, so he is irritated with the BJP. In yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) rally, it was the instructions of Chidambaram and not that of the Delhi police commissioner that were being followed,” Hussain said.

“Chidambaram himself said beat them up, so the baton charge yesterday was totally on Chidambaram’s instructions,” he alleged.

Party leader Gopinath Munde said moral responsibility for the crackdown lay with the home minister.

In the Lok Sabha, some BJP members, including its youth wing president Anurag Thakur, displayed newspapers flashing stories of the police action on its workers.

In the Lok Sabha, as Speaker Meira Kumar after an obituary reference called for the first of the listed questions, the BJP MPs were up on their feet protesting and shouting slogans.

The first hour meant for questions related to government activities and matters of public importance was lost to the protests.

The Question hour has faced almost daily cancellation since the monsoon session began Aug 1. According to PRS Legislative Research, only 14 of the planned 160 questions have been answered orally in the Lok Sabha in this session so far.

The house has faced repeated disruptions with opposition trying to corner the government over one issue or the other. PRS data suggests that the Lok Sabha had until Tuesday planned 42 hours of business but could sit only for a little over 25 hours - translating into a loss of 39 hours of planned time.

The upper house also witnessed noisy scenes, with some BJP MPs rushing towards the chairman’s podium and demanding Chidambaram’s resignation and an explanation on why their party workers were cane-charged.

BJP members began slogan shouting even before Chairman Hamid Ansari could settle down.

As the chairman took up the question hour, protesting MPs walked near his podium pressing for Chidambaram’s resignation.

Ansari adjourned the house till noon after noisy protests forced another cancellation of the question hour in the Rajya Sabha. Only 18 out of the planned 160 questions have been answered orally in the upper house so far.

The Rajya Sabha had planned 35 business hours till Tuesday but could sit only for about 18 hours so far.

The Left alleged that disruption of parliament work, delaying discussion on important issues like corruption and prices, was a “joint effort” of the BJP and the Congress.

Speaking to reporters outside parliament, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Brinda Karat said: “The BJP and Congress have joined hands to delay the discussion on corruption and price rise. What is the point in disrupting the house? It is a joint effort by the BJP and the Congress. Quite frankly, the Congress is benefiting from this.”

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