New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha saw an unusual 11 adjournments on Wednesday – of which 10 came in the second half between 2 p.m. and 5:13 p.m. – and failed to transact any business as the government tried to get a Bill passed but the AIADMK, TDP, YSR Congress and the opposition continued with their agitation in the House.
As the House met at 2 p.m., the government moved the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2013. Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, who was in the Chair, sought voice vote on the Bill on which the treasury benches shouted “aye”. However, the agitating members continued with the slogan shouting.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad blamed the government for the disruptions and said that the government was running away from discussion on various issues including the demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh, Cauvery water distribution between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, CBSE paper leak and the banking fraud.
“An impression is being created outside that the opposition parties are not allowing the House to function. But it is the ruling party which is running away from the discussion. The entire opposition if for the passage of the pending bills. We also want these bills get passed but we are also mandated to raise the issues concerning millions of people.
“I am sorry to say but it is the treasury benches which is not allowing the House to function. See who is disrupting the proceedings. Let the country see,” he said amid noisy scenes created by the treasury benches.
As Azad was speaking the TDP and AIADMK members rushed towards Chairman’s podium shouting slogans and holding placards. As the din continued Kurien adjourned the House for half an hour. As soon as the House reassembled at 2:43 p.m., another adjournment till 3:15 p.m. was announced. At 3:15 p.m., it was again adjourned for 15 minutes.
At 3.30 p.m., as the House was reconvened, Kurien appealed to the members to pass the Bill which he said was “in national interest”. “Many government programmes would stall if the Bill is not passed. Let’s discuss the Bill,” he said.
Azad said that the government was “more interested in its Bill than the interests of the people belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes”. As members again trooped near the Chair’s podium, Kurein adjourned the House for 15 minutes. The House was then successively adjourned at 3:55 p.m., 4.10 p.m., 4.30 p.m., 4.45 p.m., 4.55 p.m. before being adjourned for the day at 5.13 p.m.
Earlier, in the morning the House was adjourned 20 minutes after it met for the day till 2.pm. by Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu amid noisy protest by non-treasury members. In the morning, the newly elected members from Rajasthan, Odisha, Karnataka, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh took oath of office.
Soon after, members from the TDP, AIADMK and Congress besides others trooped near the Chairman’s podium shouting slogans such as ‘Save Andhra Pradesh’, ‘Narendra Modi Dalit Virodhi’ and ‘We demand Cauvery board’. Naidu urged the agitating members to raise their issues after laying down of the paper on the table of the House. But his appeal was in vain.
The Congress members were protesting against the government over a Supreme Court order diluting the provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. They accused the government of being anti-Dalit. The AIADMK and DMK members sought the immediate constitution of the Cauvery Water Management Board for division of the river water between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Members of the TDP held placards demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh. As the members continued with their noisy protests, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel hit out at the Congress for labelling the Modi government anti-Dalit.
“Let’s have a discussion in the House over who is anti-Dalit. You ruled the country for so long and deprived the Dalits of their basic needs. We brought many acts in favour of Dalits. You did not even give Bharat Ratna to Bhimrao Ambedkar,” Goel said.