Parliamentary proceedings washed out for 14th day in a row
New Delhi, March 22: Owing to unabated protests by opposition parties and those from some southern states, parliament proceedings were disrupted for the 14th straight day on the second leg of the budget session.
For a change, the Rajya Sabha passed without debate a crucial legislation to amend the gratuity law before the House was adjourned for the day due to the noisy protests by the Congress, TDP and AIADMK on various issues.
As in the recent past, the Lok Sabha was first adjourned till noon and then for the day with Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said that she cannot take up the no-confidence motion as there is no order in the House.
In the Upper House, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said he has been adjourning the proceedings as he does not want the people to "see the ugly scenes", a reference to the slogan-shouting and display of placards by members of different parties protesting in the Well.
Both the Houses have been disrupted over various issues like the banking scam, Cauvery water dispute and demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh, ever since Parliament met on March 5 to carry forward the Budget Session.
When the Upper House met this morning, the listed papers were laid and then brief statements were made by TDP member C M Ramesh and AIADMK MP V Maitreyan on their demands -- special status to Andhra and setting up of the Cauvery river management board respectively.
Naidu then said that he had met leaders of various parties in the morning and it was decided that the House would take up the crucial Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill as it was of importance to the employees. Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar then moved the bill for consideration and passage and the measure was passed by a voice vote, without debate.
A couple of amendments to the bill were not moved by Congress member T Subbarami Reddy. However, the semblance of normality was short-lived as slogan-shouting members from the TDP and the AIADMK soon trooped into the Well.
They were joined by some Congress members. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel also requested the protesting members to return to their seats saying the government was willing to discuss all issues.
Amid the din, Naidu said he was being asked why he was adjourning the House. "Ugly scenes are being seen by people. I don't want these ugly scenes to be seen by people," he said.
As protesting members did not yield to the Chair's request, Naidu adjourned the House for the day after just 17 minutes of proceedings. Earlier, veteran Congress MP Motilal Vora, 89, was praised by the Chairman for being regular in attending the House and conducting himself in a "dignified manner", amid thumping of desks by members from the treasury and the opposition benches.
Naidu said young members of the House should try to emulate Vora. Before this, Naidu started the proceedings by mentioning that March 22 is celebrated every year as World Water Day and expressed hope that the entire House will join him in supporting conservation of freshwater resources through natural methods.
The members responded by thumping of desks. The proceedings in the Lok Sabha also became a casualty to noisy protests by AIADMK and TRS members, leading to its adjournment as the House again failed to take up the notices of a no-confidence motion against the government.
The Question Hour was washed out in the morning due to these protests within minutes of assembling. When the House met again, the protests erupted again soon after the listed papers were laid.
While AIADMK and TRS members were seen in the Well holding placards and raising slogans, members from the Congress and Left were heard asking the Speaker to bring order so that the notices of no-confidence motion can be taken up.
Parliamentary Affairs minister Ananth Kumar said the government was ready to debate all issues, including banking scam and no-confidence motion, provided they are taken up.
He also urged the agitating members to return to their seats so that the Lok Sabha can function smoothly. When Mahajan took up the notices of no trust vote, the protesting AIADMK members raised their pitch.
As several Congress, Left and Trinamool Congress members demanded that the Chair bring order in the House, Mahajan said she cannot see anything from her seat (apparently due to placards being held by AIADMK and TRS members) and hence cannot count 50 members needed to support the no-trust move.
The leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge was seen repeatedly urging the Speaker to take up the motion. Members from the Left raised their hands in support of the no trust notices when Mahajan said she cannot see the members favouring the move due to the ruckus.
TDP's Thotha Narasimhan, who has moved one of the notices, was seen holding a paper and asking the Speaker to go ahead with the matter. She then adjourned the House for the day, saying she cannot proceed with the notices amid disruptions.