Rajya Sabha adjourned amid ruckus

New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 12 noon on Monday after heated arguments between opposition parties and treasury benches over the continuing logjam in both the houses of parliament.

Soon after the house met, Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien allowed papers to be laid on the table and then permitted leader of the opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad to speak. “An impression is being created outside the house that the government has reached out to the opposition members to break the ongoing logjam, which is far from true,” Azad said. “No one from the government has ever met any of the Congress leaders to break the logjam. In fact, we have received phone calls from government and that too on the suspension of the 25 Congress members from Lok Sabha and not on the issue of stalemate in parliament,” he added.

Azad also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not taking into confidence the chief ministers of various states before taking any decision regarding their states. Azad alleged that the government was making a mockery of cooperative federalism. “When the Naga peace accord was signed none of the related chief ministers were taken into confidence. Two days back, governors were appointed in Bihar and Himachal Pradesh but neither of the chief ministers were taken into confidence,” he said.

The allegations of the opposition members were refuted by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the leader of the house. Soon after Jaitley stood up to speak, Congress members trooped into the well of the house and shouted slogans against the Narendra Modi government. Amid the din, Jaitley said: “I strongly refute the charges levelled by leader of opposition. We tried several time to break the logjam but Congress has decided that it will not allow the house to function.”

“Their chief ministers had welcomed the Naga peace accord through their tweets but were deleted after pressure from their leadership,” he said. After Jaitley spoke, Kurien allowed Janata Dal-United member K.C. Tyagi to speak. As he stood up, Congress members stopped shouting slogans and went back to their seats. Jaitley objected to this selective behaviour of Congress members. He said: “The government was not allowed to speak by Congress members. This is the selective approach of Congress. Is this the way to conduct the house.”

Kurien responded to it and said: “Selective blocking is not acceptable. I have never seen such practice.” Amidst the heated arguments between opposition members and members from the treasury benches, Congress leader from Andhra Pradesh J. Seelam trooped into the well and stood in front of Jaitley. He along with other Congress members from Andhra Pradesh was demanding special status for the state. Amid the din Kurien adjourned the house till 12 noon.

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