6:00 pm : Parliament now moves on to Question Hour. Kapil Sibal has also placed before the house the National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill.
5:50 pm: LK Advani was to reply but Sharad Yadav takes over instead. Speaker Meira Kumar seems as puzzled by the interjection but allows him to speak anyway.
Yadav said he wanted the numbers of illegal migrants in the state but that had not been given. And then Advani rises.
“The Home Minister said he was going to make a suo motu statement and he spoke about the situation in the state. The adjournment motion is not to speak on the situation in the state,” he said.
What is of importance is that the root of today’s problems is not a communal or ethnic problem, but one caused by illegal immigration, Advani said.
He then sought a vote on the matter but lost. And that seems to be the end of that.
5:45 pm: The Home Minister said he’s still keeping a watch on the situation in Assam.
“I am closely monitoring the security situation in Assam….Leaders of both communities have been asked to intervene,” he said.
The CBI will also begin investigations in the matter.
“If the situation arises, I have kept the army alert now, and if the situation arises the government will not dare to take action….Army should go and bring the result in the areas where actually it is affected,” Shinde said. Confusing words those.
If anything is lacking I will make a correction on it, he said, adding that the government did not want to hide anything due to which he had made a suo motu statement.
5:40 pm: Describing the escalation of violence in Kokrajhar and surrounding areas, the newly appointed Home Minister described the sequence of events as they took place in Assam.
As on 6 August the violence has taken a toll of 73 persons and 50 injured, the home minister said.
330 relief camps had been set up and additional forces are being sent on a daily basis to maintain peace, he said.
“Over 170 persons indulging in violence have been arrested so far and 309 cases have been registered against the violence,” he said.
A comprehensive security plan has been charted out for those who have been displaced by the violence, he said.
5:35 pm: First words from Home Minister and leader of house Sushil Kumar Shinde and he chooses to thank Advani for his support.
“It doesn’t make sense to debate on things past and leave aside matters that are of importance to the nation,” Sushilkumar Shinde said.
5:30 pm: Tagore is cited by the TMC MP as Sonia Gandhi seems immersed in her thoughts.
The TMC chooses the moment for some self praise and says thanks to Mamata Banerjee their state remains communally peaceful.
“Bodo people are peace loving people but there are militant elements among them,” he said.
The TMC wants armed forces to be increased in the area in order to flush out illegal arms from the region but rejects his motion for adjournment.
“I respect Advaniji for his age but he is not showing the sharpness that he had as a Home Minister,” he said, adding that he hoped the senior BJP leader would not continue harping on the issue of illegal migrants.
5:15 pm: Bwiswmuthiary contiued to seek benefits for the tribals affected by the violence. He wants Rs 20 lakh for each family displaced, a judicial commission headed by a Supreme Court justice and independent police force.
“Until the seperate step of Bodoland is created it will not end. I appeal to the government to create a seperate state…this is the only solution,” he said.
The TMC says that Advani’s speech was not the right ‘tenor’ and would lead to further instances of violence.
The TMC MP pointed out that Advani did not note the shelter provided by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to immigrants from West Bengal.
5:00 pm: Lok Sabha member from Bodoland Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswmuthiary launches into an impassioned plea blaming illegal immigration for the violence in the state. His pink suit is a trifle distracting though.
“I strongly condemn the incidents that took place,” Bwiswmuthiary said, adding that not only the Bodos but other communities were also attacked.
4.05pm Prabodh Panda of the CPI said that both the NDA and UPA governments which have been in power in India, are responsible for the escalating ethnic tension in Assam. More sympathy for Shinde: “You are coming from one crisis sector to another crisis sector.”
3.50pm “Don’t group Bangladeshis with Indian Muslims. We have to make sure that like we have Pak-occupied-Kashmir, we don’t end up with a Bangla-occupied-Assam,” says Anand Geete of Shiv Sena. Interestingly, he quotes a Shashi Tharoor book to say that there are 2 crore Bangladeshis in India. Shashi Thaoor should be pleased, Congress, not really!
3.45pm Lalu Prasad Yadav protests Advani’s calling the Congress government ’illegitimate’. “When Advani was the home minister, he promoted communal tension by declaring that Bangladeshis have infiltrated India. Wearing a lungi and being a Muslim doesn’t make someone a Bangladeshi,” he said. However, the take-away from the speech? Sixty-something Lalu calling eighty-something Advani a ‘buzurg’ – elderly!
3.30pm Yadav seems to have set high standards of parliamentary oratory. While BJD’s Tathagata Satpathy is no competition to his Lucknowi poeticism, the latter tries his hand at world play too, wanting to say what the whole of Opposition has been saying several times over – why is the north-east ignored? ‘There are so many Gs, yeh ji, woh ji, oh 2G, haan ji‘ is how Satpathy spent his allotted two-minutes, trying to ask why the north-east has been ignored for so long.
3.15pm Yadav asks the new home minister to find an immediate solution to the ethnic issues plaguing Assam, instead of dwelling in the past and debating what might have led to the debate. Demands all-party meeting, travel to Assam. If Sushil Kumar Shinde still has a smile on his face, that’s because Yadav goes easy on him and says, ‘Aap ko kya bolen, woh to chalein gayen hai, aap to naye hain (What can I tell you, he has left, you’re new)’. No prizes for guessing, ‘he’ is NDA’s favourite dartboard Chidambaram.
3.00pm Sharad Yadav, NDA convenor, provides unintentionally comic, deliberately poetic relief. Between rhyming (talwar se nahin, goli se, goli se nahin, boli se…) Yadav says he is not in favour of a demographic change in the country.
2.55pm Acharya calls the 2003 BTAD agreement against the interest of the Bodos.
2.53pm Acharya calls Bangladeshi immigrants “citizens” of India. Blames BJP for calling Indian citizens foreigners.
2:50 pm: Acharya says he had also travelled in Assam and said the violence was targetting a specific community.
“Not a single house was attacked in Bodo villages,” he said.
2:45 pm : The BSP says that those who come to the nation for refuge must get it and all those displaced by the violence.
Ok the Left seems to be in opposition to what the BJP said.
CPI-M MP Basudev Acharya says that the violence in Assam is not due to illegal immigration as Advani claimed and said the state government was caught sleeping when the violence broke out.
2:40 pm : Shailendra Singh from the Samajwadi Party says that all the political parties should work together to ensure peace in the region.
He pointed out that it needs to be checked whether the illegal immigrants are working against the nation but should also look at the fact that India has provided sanctuary to immigrants from other nations.
“I hope that peace and unity is brought about in Assam and that it doesn’t affect the nation,” he said.
2:30 pm: It turns out that the Assam Congress MP is Paban Singh Ghatwar and he’s the MP from Dibrugarh in Assam.
Whatever he saying though seems to be getting the goat of the BJP. Unfortunately, because he’s speaking in Assamese everyone’s listening pretty intently to what he’s saying. However, it also means they’re reacting a bit later than they would like.
2:20 pm: Lalu Prasad Yadav is up on his feet protesting about something a BJP legislator said. Thanks to it being Lalu though it isn’t very clear what he’s upset about.
The Assamese MP is still speaking though and he seems to be praising Manmohan Singh for the development of the north east states of India and bringing peace to the region.
2:15 pm: A Congress MP replies in Assamese and due to a shortage of Assamese speakers in the newsroom we’re just going to have to wait this speech out.
Whatever, he’s saying though he seems to have the Lok Sabha engrossed in his speech.
2:10 pm: The senior BJP leader says that illegal immigrants should be deported and disenfranchised to ensure that they have no voting rights. With that he ends his speech.
2:05 pm : Advani says the government should give figures of illegal immigration into the country and should show how many people have
“The Home Minister should tell us how many illegal immigrants are across the country and particularly in the area where Bodos live,” Advani said.
Advani defends the NDA’s record in tracking illegal immigration and says they kept a regular watch on it.
“People in Assam feel that they are losing their lands and Bodos feel that in their own land they are foreigners,” the senior BJP leader said.
The country should have a national register of citizens and those who are not citizens should have their names stricken from it, he said.
The tribal belts should be left alone and Assam’s security should be ensured because it was directly connected to national security, Advani said.
2:00 pm: And Lok Sabha resumes and Speaker Meira Kumar says that LK Advani has apologised for his comment calling the government ‘illegitimate ‘.
“I would like the government to stay how many illegal immigrants are there in the country and have spread across the nation,” Adavani said, resuming the debate on Assam.
He sought that the Home Minister and Prime Minister state what steps the government is taking to tackle illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
Rahul Gandhi was asked about the incident but had no comment to offer. But he is upset. Or at least thats what this tweet suggests:
He is a senior person..he knows what he’s saying, wouldn’t like to comment on this: Rahul Gandhi on LK Advani’s remarks on UPA 2 government
— NDTV (@ndtv) अगस्त 8, 2012
1:05 pm: Perhaps for the first time that UPA president Sonia Gandhi could be seen telling MPs to continue protesting against Advani’s comment and perhaps is a sign that she may have to play a more active role given the absence of Pranab Mukherjee.
However,the Congress spokesperson defended his party president (not surprisingly) saying that she was merely defending democracy.
“She knows very well when to intervene and when not to. When a senior BJP leader says that the government is illegitimate than anyone who believes in democracy should condemn it,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.
He also had some not-so-kind words for BJP leader LK Advani.
“It seems like even now Advaniji is fighting agaisnt the 2008 confidence vote in his head,”he said, addign that he should have kept himself restricted to the matter at hand, he said.
1:00 pm:The Congress MPs are still on their feet and refusing to relent.
The Speaker adjourns the Lok Sabha till 2 pm.
“Parliament seems to be more violent than Gangs of Wasseypur,” said a chirpy voice in the newsroom.
12:55 pm: Advani’s still on his feet. The violence in Assam seems to be a long forgotten topic for the MPs who seem to be intent on proving the legitimacy of the government.
Though the senior BJP leader says he is willing to withdraw the statement, Minister Kapil Sibal and many UPA MPs are on their feet seeking the statement be withdrawn.
“They don’t seem to want me to continue,” Advani said, and asked for permission to conclude. However, the UPA benches don’t seem to be in the mood to relent.
12:50 pm: Sonia Gandhi seems to be telling the Opposition benches that she wants one word expunged from records. However, Advani says he had merely stated what he stated at the time of the 2008 confidence vote.
PK Bansal of the Congress points out that the BJP leader had sought the adjournment motion on Assam but had diverged from the issue and was discussing matters unrelated to it.
“I would like to say that Advaniji did not say anything that was off the topic,” Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said, adding that it was related to the Assam violence because the government had failed in administration.
12:45 pm: The UPA government is up in arms over the comment and now so are the Opposition benches. Advani stands patiently and Sonia Gandhi speaks animatedly to her legislators.
“I was not talking about the elections but the 2008 confidence vote is what I was referring to,”Advani said, but the government benches seem to be in no mood to listen to him.
12:40 pm: The senior BJP leader accuses the UPA government of buying votes to survive in Parliament.
“I believe the UPA-II is an illegitimate government,” said Advani.
However, the government benches are instantly up in arms over the comment and even the Speaker’s assurance to expunge objectionable remarks doesn’t satisfy them.
“Advani is a senior leader and we all respect him. But now by saying that the election is illegitimate he has insulted all of us,” Sushil Kumar Shinde said. An angry Sonia Gandhi also shouts at Advani but can’t be heard above the din.
“I think he should withdraw his words today,” Shinde said. Advani said he was not speaking about the 2009 elections but even that fails to placate anyone. The senior BJP leader said he was referring to a confidence vote in the Parliament and refuses to take back his words or apologise.
12:30 pm:Advani blames the central government for the failure to check illegal immigration into India and not acting on a Supreme Court judgement on the matter.
I cannot think of a greater failure of the central government on this,” he said
The BJP leader said the condition of India’s security establishment is bad due to the unchecked illegal immigration.
Speaking about his blog post on the 2014 elections, Advani accuses the UPA government of buying votes to win the elections leading to uproar in the Lok Sabha.
12:25 pm: The BJP leader says that the Prime Minister and central government have the most responsibility to resolve the situation in the state.
According to the senior BJP leader, the people of Assam feel that their lands will be seized and they will lose control over it
“It should be examined from an Indian -non-Indian perspective,” he said.
“The central government has more responsibility than even the state government in the matter,” the senior BJP leader said.
12:20 pm: Advani said that the fundamental problem was one of unchecked illegal immigration.
“The whole country’s security establishment is at risk due to this,” he said.
The Muslims of the region feel that if such violence had taken place in any other region of the country a lot more action would have been taken, Advani said.
Saying that the NDA had taken positive steps to resolve the cause of conflict in the past, Advani said the UPA government had failed to improve the situation in any way.
“The Chief Minister of Assam also says that they are sitting on a volcano…the situation is so explosive that if steps are not taken then an another explosion of violence can take place,” he said.
12:15 pm: Advani said that by accepting the adjournment motion the government showed that it felt responsible for the condition in Assam.
“It makes us happy that the Prime Minister, who has been representing Assam for years and the Home Minister are also present,” he said.
“When I went to Assam and Kokrajhar district, the then Home Minister P Chidambaram was in Dhubri. I accept that when there is such tension in the country many people lose their lives. There has been violence in these regions and many people have died,” Advani said.
Initially the government said that the BJP’s initial claim that only a number of people had died and not ‘hundreds’, he said, pointing out that the number of people displaced by the violence was unprecedented.
“Many women who met me in the camps expressed their concern that they wouldn’t be able to return to their homes,” Advani said.
“When I was in Kokrajhar I had said let us not consider it as a Hindu-Muslim conflict,” he said, adding that there may also been only partial truth that it was ethnic violence.
“The main problem is who is from India and who is from an outside country. After realising this truth our solutions will work better,” he said.
12:10 pm: Advani continues despite the furore in the background.
The adjournment motion is accepted and it is to be debated. Papers are to be placed before the House, speaker Meira Kumar said.
12:00 pm: The Lok Sabha reconvenes and LK Advani is to address the House on the adjournment motion moved regarding violence in Assam.
However, he’s been interrupted by the Left parties which are saying that they had also moved an adjournment motion.
Even some members of the Opposition benches seem to be up in arms over the shooting in the US gurdwara, however, it is not very clear what they are seeking. However, the Speaker is having none of it and tries to get Advani to continue.
11.50am: Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said that there will be no delay in tabling the CAG report on the allocation of coal blocks. Speaking to reporters outside the Lok Sabha, Chidambaram said that apart from the coal block report, the CAG reports on DIAL and mega power projects would also be brought before the house.
11:20 am: The motion has been accepted and will be debated at 12 pm, Speaker Meira Kumar said. However, most of the Opposition benches were on their feet and refused to let Question Hour proceed.
After a brief attempt to get them to allow house proceedings to continue the Speaker adjourned the Lok Sabha till noon.
The Rajya Sabha was shortly afterwards adjourned till noon as the Opposition benches refused to let proceedings continue.
11:15 am: Speaker Meira Kumar said she has accepted the adjournment motion on Assam and attempted to start Question Hour.
However, despite trying to convice Opposition party members that their demand had been met, they refuse to calm down and continue to raise their voices in protest against the government.
11:10 am: Even as the obituaries are being read out some MPs begin to raise their voices and are quickly silenced by Speaker Meira Kumar.
11:05 am: New members of Parliament, Samajwadi Party’s Dimple Yadav and M Raja Mohan Reddy from Nellore sworn in as members of the Lok Sabha.
11.00am: Parliamentary proceedings for the monsoon session are now underway, with speaker Miera Kumar officially opening the session. The government is hoping to pass 31 bills, while the opposition is looking to corner the government on issues ranging from the violence in Assam, the 2G spectrum scam and the allocation of coal mines without auction.
Among the legislation that the government will be looking to pass will be The Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill and the Companies Bill. The controversial Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill is also likely to be presented by the government in Parliament.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said his government was ready for discussion on all matters and sought the support of all political parties in passing laws for the country.
“The government is ready for any discussion in accordance with rules and procedures in Parliament,” Singh told reporters outside Parliament today.
“We welcome the use of Parliament as a forum for dialogue, discussion and debate and I sincerely hope that all political parties will work with government to ensure that this session of Parliament will move forward smoothly to tackle many legislative problems before the country,” he said.
The Lokpal Bill, for which anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare had been on a hunger strike, is also pending before the Rajya Sabha but is unlikely to be taken up in this session of Parliament.
The session of Parliament, which will continue till 7 September, will also be the first session with newly appointed Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde taking over as leader of the house in the Lok Sabha.
On the first day of the session, Union Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal is expected to try and push through the National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill. The government will also try and pass the Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Work Place Bill.
However, the Opposition has already warned the government that like previous sessions of Parliament they will be targetting the government on a range of issues including the 2G spectrum sale scam, allocation of coal blocks to private companies without auctioning them .
P Chidambaram, who took over as Finance Minister, could also be an opposition target, particularly over allegations of his involvement in the Aircel-Maxis deal. However BJP leader Arun Jaitley has said that there were no specific plans to target him this session. This is in contrast to the last session in parliament when the opposition expressly said it would target him, and repeatedly called for his resignation.
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj has already said that a debate on the state of the economy would be pressed by the opposition at a time when there is an economic crisis in the country, fall in ratings and devaluation of the rupee vis-a-vis the dollar.
She has said the opposition also wants a clarification on the government’s intentions on FDI in retail. The government will have to tread cautiously on the issue with key UPA constituent Mamata Banerjee‘s Trinamool Congress making it clear that it was opposed to the move.
The Left parties have taken up the issue of the Food Security bill in a big way. They are also expected to take up the killing of tribals in Chhattisgarh and the violence at the Maruti plant in Manesar.