New Delhi: Pandemonium and slogan shouting against the imposition of President's Rule in Uttarakhand marred the first day of the Lok Sabha on Monday as opposition members flayed the government for its "autocratic" decision.
As soon as the obituary references were made, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge demanded adjournment of the house and suspension of Question Hour to discuss the issue. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said she was disallowing his demand but he could raise the issue during zero hour.
Several opposition members, including Sushmita Dev and Abhijit Mukherjee of Congress and AAP's Bhagwant Mann, rushed towards the speaker raising anti-government slogans.
They massed there shouting slogans like "Stop killing democracy" and "Murder of democracy will not be accepted". When the Speaker allowed the question hour to go on, some members squatted at the spot.
Questions related to as many as five ministries including petroleum, labour, tourism and commerce were taken up.
Amid slogans like "Modi sarkar hosh mein aao" (Government must come to senses) and "Shame, shame", Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the government will soon launch a Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Scheme aimed to providing five crore cooking gas connections to rural areas, especially in the name of women for families below poverty line.
Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said contrary to demands from members including from Bhola Singh (BJP) and Tatagatha Sathpathy (BJD), the government cannot put a blanket ban on import of Chinese goods.
"Blanket ban of a country is not possible under WTO norms," she said.
After question hour, Mallikarjun Kharge charged the government with "strangulating democracy" by dismissing elected governments in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh.
"A series of unconstitutional steps were being taken by this government," he alleged.
Several BJP members, including RK Singh, Sanjay Jaiswal and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, were on their feet, saying that matters in court cannot be taken up in the house.
Making a brief intervention, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the crises in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand were not the creation of the BJP or NDA.
"All these happened due to internal problems in their own party (Congress)," he said, and welcomed the Speaker's ruling that the subjudice matters cannot be discussed in the house.
"Even otherwise the house will take up for discussion on the proclamation of President's Rule. Members can participate in the debate then," he said.
The proclamation of President's Rule needs to be approved within two months by parliament.