NEW DELHI: The logjam in Parliament does not show any sign of easing with the government seeking to schedule a discussion on the riots in Delhi on March 11 after Holi next week and the opposition adamant that the violence be debated before any significant legislative business is taken up.
Attempts to pass the ‘Vivad se Vishwas’ bill, which seeks to provide a resolution to tax disputes that add up to Rs 9.3 lakh crore, failed with just a few clauses passed on in the midst of protests in
on Tuesday afternoon when Congress’s Adhir Ranjan Choudhury vigorously contested the bid to pass the legislation.
As was the case on Monday, opposition and treasury bench members were seen jostling with each other after Speaker
’s suggestion to discuss the Delhi riots on March 11, a day after Holi, was rejected. The government said it was willing to discuss the violence at a date set by the Speaker but to do immediately is avoidable since normalcy is just restored.
Rajya Sabha was adjourned thrice and could not transact any business on Tuesday over the opposition’s demand for a debate on the Delhi riots. Leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad wondered aloud why the government was adopting double standards by claiming on one hand that the situation in Delhi was normal but insisting that a discussion could not be allowed at present.
Despite Om Birla’s warning on Tuesday morning — that any MP crossing to the other side would be suspended for the remainder of the session — Lok Sabha witnessed dramatic scenes with Chowdhury rushing to the well to protest against the transaction of legislative business.
The Speaker had tried to resolve the standoff when he met opposition leaders in the afternoon. Though non-Congress opposition parties seemed ambivalent, Choudhury is understood to have stuck to his guns. Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi sought to point out that the bill in question needed to be passed before March 31 as it had serious financial implications.
In Rajya Sabha, Azad said, “All of us, whether in the opposition or government, condemn the incidents. That Delhi violence is talked about in foreign countries but not discussed even though Parliament is in session… is a little odd. We are not looking to confront the government. We are all saddened; the victims, be it from any community or religion, were fellow humans. 90% of those dead were in the 24-35 age group. Property and shops were also destroyed,” he said.
Leader of the House Thaawarchand Gehlot got up and said the government was ready for a discussion as per the schedule decided by the Rajya Sabha chairman. The deputy chairman then said the date and time for the discussion would be decided by the chairman.
In Lok Sabha, amid slogans of ‘Down, Down
’ and ‘Save our India’, opposition MPs tore up papers even as Om Birla allowed finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman to introduce the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020. Though Lok Sabha passed six clauses of the ‘Vivad se Vishwas’ tax resolution bill amid the ensuing din, it could not pass the bill because of the ruckus that followed.
As Congress, TMC, SP and DMK MPs rushed into the well, BJP MP
attempted to prevent Chowdhury from moving towards the treasury benches. As Congress MPs rushed behind Chowdhury, BJP MPs
and Jagdambika Pal rushed in to defuse tensions, but heated exchanges followed, forcing Om Birla to adjourn the House for the day around 2.15 pm.
Amid the din, BJP and Congress members pushed each other while some were seen banging the swivel door leading to the secretary general’s desk. Slanging matches and
continued even after the House was adjourned. Women and child development minister Smriti Irani engaged in a war of words with Congress MPs K Suresh and
over banging the secretary general’s door.
Even as opposition parties demanded that PM Narendra Modi address the House and called for Shah’s resignation, the Speaker strongly opposed waving of placards and banners. He asked Congress, “Please say it as a party… do you want Parliament to be run with placards and banners… say so.”