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Parliament’s winter session headed for washout

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  16 Dec 2016 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, Dec 15: Parliament’s winter session — which ends on December 16 — is headed for a virtual washout as chaos reigned in both houses on Thursday, the penultimate day of the month-long session. Members of both the opposition and treasury benches indulged in recrimition over demonetisation, corruption and other issues.

In the Lok Sabha, the opposition pressed for a debate on demonetisation while the treasury benches demanded a discussion on the AgustaWestland helicopter deal.

The continued disruption in both the houses angered veteran Bharatiya Jata Party leader and Lok Sabha member L.K. Advani, who said he feels like resigning from Parliament because of unending pandemonium. He asked Home Minister Rajth Singh to convey to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan that she should ensure that the house functions on Friday to discuss the November 8 demonetisation.

In the Lok Sabha, both opposition and treasury benches shouted at each other as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan warned the members against displaying newspapers in the house. She then adjourned the house till noon.

The opposition accused the Bharatiya Jata Party members of obstructing the debate. Telanga Rashtra Samithi leader A.P. Jithender Reddy said he should be allowed to speak as he had started the discussion on demonetisation under Rule 193.

“Every party has a problem with the implementation of demonetisation... I was not allowed to speak,” Reddy said. Trimool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay said, “There is one more day left before the end of the session. A discussion could have been initiated, without any rules.”

Parliamentary Affairs Minister H.N. Anth Kumar raised the issue of the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal and said mes of certain Congress leaders are mentioned in middleman Christian Michel’s diary. This further irked the opposition members, leading to more ruckus, following which Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the house for the day.

Even after the Lok Sabha was adjourned, Advani remained seated while other members left the house.

From the media gallery, Advani was heard telling Rajth Singh to convey to the Speaker that she should ensure the house runs on Friday to discuss demonetisation.

Advani was then joined by Trimool Congress MP Idris Ali, who later told reporters that he asked after the former Deputy Prime Minister’s health, to which the latter quipped: “My health is fine but the health of Parliament is not.”

“I feel like resigning,” said Advani, his comments audible to those present in the media gallery. Idris then asked Advani about Vajpayee’s health. Advani replied: “He would have been very sad to see this.” “If the situation is the same on the last day as well, Parliament will be slandered,” Advani said.

“Such a thing has never happened in the House of Commons... adjourned for no reason. I feel ashamed,” he added.

In the Rajya Sabha, similar acrimonious scenes were witnessed. It was first adjourned till noon amid chaos, minutes after it re-assembled following a four-day break on account of week-end and two holidays. Soon after the house met for the day, the Chair allowed Leader of Opposition Ghulam bi Azad to speak but members from the treasury benches did not let him speak.

“This should also go on record that in both the houses, it is the ruling party (BJP) that is not allowing any work,” Azad said, adding that it was happening for the “first time in the history of India”.

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien kept on urging protesting members to maintain peace but his pleas went unheeded. “Why should both sides create problem? I don’t know,” he said and adjourned the house till noon.

Later, the house was adjourned for 30 minutes and then again till 2 p.m. It was filly adjourned for the day after 2 p.m. as the opposition members demanded a debate on demonetisation and plight of farmers while those on the treasury benches sought a debate on the AgustaWestland chopper deal.

The winter session of Parliament started on November 16 but has been washed away due to protests over the government’s November 8 demonetisation and other issues. (IANS)

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