Hazare protest stalls parliament, no business done (Third Lead)

August 23rd, 2011 - 4:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS) Both houses of parliament were Tuesday adjourned for the day without conducting any significant business as opposition MPs stalled proceedings over the anti-corruption campaign led by Anna Hazare, whose fast for a strong Lokpal bill entered day eight.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) created a ruckus, demanding immediate discussions in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on corruption in the country, leading to repeated disruptions of the houses.

The Lok Sabha proceedings began with a prolonged verbal duel between Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj (BJP) and Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.K. Bansal.

Bansal objected as Sushma Swaraj - who had given a notice for suspension of the question hour for a discussion on the Hazare fast and recent developments - mentioned recent corruption scandals like the 2G spectrum scam and the Adarsh Housing Society scandal.

The parliamentary affairs minister said she was deviating from the topic by raising these issues.

The BJP leader said the issues were related as common man in the country was suffering due to rampant corruption.

Bansal then suggested the discourse be transformed into a special discussion on corruption, for which the government was ready.

But Sushma Swaraj demanded that the question hour be suspended and discussion be held. As the arguments and counter arguments continued amid noisy support from the MPs of each side, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the house till noon.

Sushma Swaraj said Hazare’s protest was against the “corruption resorted to by the government” and the government could not wash its hands of it.

“Scams after scams are being revealed. People are facing the brunt of price rise and ministers are looting crores (of rupees),” she said.

She said the “sarkari Lokpal” proposed to be set up by the government’s bill was “weak and has neither teeth nor eyes”.

“It is totally ineffective,” Sushma Swaraj said.

When MPs reconvened at 12, the noisy scenes returned even as some papers, including ministry reports, were laid on the table.

This time the speaker allowed the special discussion, under Rule 193. However, she first allowed DMK’s T.R. Baalu to conclude his address on Tamils in Sri Lanka which he had started last week.

BJP MPs objected to this saying the discussion on corruption should be held first. Amid a ruckus, Meira Kumar adjourned the house till 2 p.m.

The ruckus continued when the house reassembled in the afternoon, forcing Deputy Speaker Karia Munda to adjourn it for the day.

There were similar scenes in the Rajya Sabha with the BJP demanding that question hour be suspended for a discussion on corruption.

As soon as the upper house met, members of the BJP, which had submitted a notice to suspend the question hour and take up the discussion, were up on their feet insisting on their demand.

Ruling party members tried to counter the opposition by shouting slogans demanding that question hour proceed.

Repeated pleas from Chairman Hamid Ansari for raising the issue after question hour went unheard and the house was adjourned till 12 noon.

When the upper house met after the disruption, opposition members were once again on their feet.

The government assured the members that the discussion would be held at 2 p.m., but the opposition refused to be pacified.

“We have kept a discussion for 2 p.m.,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said.

“The main opposition party is trying to run away from discussion,” Shukla said.

As opposition members continued the uproar, deputy chairman K. Rahman Khan adjourned the house till 2 p.m.

However, the house was adjourned for the day following similar scenes when members reassembled at 2 p.m.

An angry Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V. Narayanasamy said: “We are ready for short duration discussion, government is willing for any kind of discussion.”

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