Parliament live: BJP says Cong behind Parl disruptions

by FP Politics  Nov 23, 2012 15:15 IST

#Lok Sabha   #Lokpal   #parliament   #PoliticalPlay   #Rajya Sabha  

3.21 pm: BJP says Congress behind the disruption of Parliament

BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar has reacted angrily to comments by Minister of State for the PMO, V Narayanasamy, calling the BJP an irresponsible opposition for not allowing the house to function.

WE are not allowing the house to function? Congress is responsible for disrupting the house, not us. Both Thursday and Friday, their ally, the BSP disrupted the house, so that they could avoid a debate on FDI. We have even given motions of discussion to the speaker. None of us were in the well of the house", he said.

3.06 pm: Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day

And surprising no one, the proceedings in the upper house of Parliament have also been adjourned for the day following protests relating to the SC/ST quota, and washing out two days of the Winter session.

The newest point of drama however is a letter written to the Prime Minister by both leaders of the opposition asking him to cancel the appointment of the CBI director and appoint him under the Lokpal, the draft bill of which was tabled before the Rajya Sabha today.

BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said that the government ought to have waited a month or so and appointed the new director in accordance with the provisions set out in the Lokpal.

"This is a new low in relations between the government and opposition. Our trust in them has completely broken down", he told Times Now .

2.15 pm: Opposition wants PM to recall CBI director

Leaders of opposition have written to the Prime Minister on the Parliament letterhead, saying that the appointment of the new CBI director has to be recalled, because it was unfair. The BJP is upset because they feel that the new director should have been appointed in accordance with provisions set out in the Lokpal bill, which was tabled before the Rajya Sabha today.

The Select Committee is learnt to have recommended that the CBI chief be appointed by a collegium comprising of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India.

Technically the government was correct to have appointed Ranjit Sinha as under current law they have the right to do so. But the BJP is arguing that the government was morally incorrect in deciding to appoint the director mere days ahead of the tabling of the Lokpal. Significantly, the Lokpal has also not been passed into a law as yet.

The BJP demand is being backed by IAC activist Prashant Bhushan who was also instrumental in last years hugely popular Jan Lokpal agitation.

Meanwhile responding to the latest development, Minister of state V Narayanasamy hit out at the opposition saying that there was no question of political unfairness.

"As far as the procedure has been followed by the government is that the CVC has to sit and finalize the names. CVC sat and discussed and finalised three names. Ultimately the Prime Minister has the authority to decide and in his wisdom chose Ranjit Sinha in a fair manner, following the due process. Where is the question of unfairness in this? The BJP is not acting like a responsible opposition party. For them it is, my way or the highway", he said.

1.00 pm: Samajwadi Party to oppose Lokpal Bill in Parliament

Samajwadi Party party MP Naresh Aggarwal told reporters outside Parliament that the party will oppose Lokpal Bill that has been tabled in the Rajya Sabha today.

After its passage in the Lok Sabha last year, the Lokpal bill faced opposition hurdles in the Rajya Sabha on various provisions, following which it was referred to the Select Committee. The panel, which was to submit its report during the monsoon session, adopted it on 19 November.

The Department of Personnel and Training, which piloted the bill, will have to approach the Union Cabinet on the recommendations made by the committee. Once the bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha, it will be sent to the Lok Sabha again for approval of the amended version, which means it is unlikely to be passed this session.

12. 28 pm: Kamal Nath says RK Singh's allegations need to be discussed in Parliament

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said that the allegations by former CAG official RK Singh need to be addressed in a Parliamentary debate.

“Many members have told me that they want a discussion on this in Parliament. There are calls for an inquiry and a discussion on the matter,” Nath told Times Now.

Nath said the inquiry in the matter should verify the authenticity of the allegations leveled against the CAG and the Parliamentary Accounts Committtee.

“Is that somebody somewhere has gone on a tangent to criticise the government? We must not allow the institution of the CAG to be criticised, but if someone from within makes such allegations then people and Parliament should know the truth,” Nath said.

Speaking on the deadlock that was plaguing both houses at the moment, Nath said that he hoped all parties would be able to reach consensus at an all party meet that has been scheduled for Monday. He ruled out a vote on FDI saying that it was about setting precedent.

12.00 pm: Lokpal tabled in Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha adjourned for the day

The Lokpal bill has been tabled in the Rajya Sabha, but this is merely symbolic, given that it took place amid increasingly loud sloganeering and chanting over the SC/ST promotions quota bill. No discussion was possible, although the chair of house tried to keep proceedings going for about ten minutes.

The house has been adjourned till 2.30 pm.

In the Lok Sabha, it was clear that the hours break did not do any good, or succeed in changing anyone's minds.Francesco Sardinha who was in the chair tried gamely to conduct a discussion and vote, but was forced to adjourn the house for the day amid chants of "FDI Vapas Lo"

Meanwhile the Congress committee held a meeting in the Parliament complex, most likely to discuss the revelations of former CAG official RK Singh in to the estimated loss figure of the 2G scam. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi also held a meeting in this regard.

11.00 am: Both houses of Parliament adjourned

Blink and you miss it. Both houses of Parliament began proceedings for the day but were adjourned almost immediately. Scenes from the Rajya Sabha showed Chairman Hamid Ansari shaking his head in despair amid a cacophany of sloganeering and what suspiciously sounded like howling, from the opposition benches.

PTI reported that the uproar was over the quota for SC/ST in promotions and the issue of retail FDI. Yesterday it was because the BSP wanted Presidents rule in Uttar Pradesh. A new day, a new reason it seems.

In the Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was allowed to introduce the newly constituted cabinet, but disruptions began as soon as Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar announced question hour. She tried for a while to restore order, but to no avail.

The adjournment came as Congress raised the issue of RP Singh while the BJP was shouting 184 - 184.

Meanwhile Twitter is watching, and does not approve:

9.50 am: PM's dinner diplomacy fails to build consensus on retail FDI

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hosted dinner for opposition leaders at his residence yesterday, but failed to make any headway on the retail FDI deadlock. The decision to allow 51 percent FDI in the retail industry was passed as an executive cabinet order, which means it does not require a vote in Parliament.

However the BJP who have been calling the decision 'executive despotism' are demanding that it be subject to a debate and vote in Parliament, and had categorically told the government that no work would get done unless there was a vote on the issue.

Sushma Swaraj, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, accused the government of violating its pledge to consult the parties before allowing FDI in retail. The government denied this. “We have not violated (the assurance),” Commerce Minister Anand Sharma told IANS.

The BJP had given a breach of privilege notice against him in the Rajya Sabha over his earlier assurance on the FDI issue.

Parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath has convened a meeting of all party leaders of both Houses on Monday to discuss the issue.

9.20 am: Draft Lokpal bill to be tabled in Rajya Sabha

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, is scheduled to table the Parliamentary select committee's draft Lokpal bill in the Rajya Sabha once Parliament resumes today. That is of course, assuming that any work actually gets done, and the sessions in the Upper House do not suffer the same fate they did yesterday.

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day at 12 noon yesterday after Opposition MPs created a ruckus in the house.

After its passage in the Lok Sabha last year, the Lokpal bill faced opposition hurdles in the Rajya Sabha on various provisions, following which it was referred to the Select Committee. The panel, which was to submit its report during the monsoon session, adopted it on 19 November.

Reuters

The Department of Personnel and Training, which piloted the bill, will have to approach the Union Cabinet on the recommendations made by the committee. Once the bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha, it will be sent to the Lok Sabha again for approval of the amended version, which means it is unlikely to be passed this session.

Despite suggestions by the Law Ministry during depositions before the Committee suggesting ‘insulation’ to officials of the PMO, the Committee, headed by Satyavrat Chaturvedi, has not recommended any changes.

The Prime Minister, who is sought to be covered by the proposed law, is, however, exempted from the ambit of Lokpal on issues of external and internal security, atomic energy, international relations and public order.

While de-linking the creation of Lokayuktas at the national and state levels, the panel has said state governments will have to set up their own ombudsman through enactment of law by state legislatures within one year of of the law going into force.

The Committee’s recommendation is seen as a major concession to Opposition parties and UPA allies which had termed the original provision as an attack on the federal structure saying state governments should be free to enact their own law regarding the creation of the state-level ombudsman.

Partially accepting suggestions made by parties like BJP and JD(U) on making the CBI independent of government control, the Select Committee is learnt to have recommended that its chief be appointed by a collegium comprising of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India.

It also recommended that CBI should have a separate Directorate of Prosecution under a Director who should function under the agency chief. It said the Director of Prosecution should be appointed by the CVC. (Read more about the provisions of the draft bill here)

9.00 am: Will Parliament get any work done today?

With a shorter time-frame of 16 working days and a heavy agenda of 35 bills — 25 listed for consideration and passing and 10 for introduction — the government is desperate to pass major bills, especially economic ones. However if the first day of the Winter session is any indication, nothing much is going to get done.

Before the session began, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the government was willing to discuss all issues in parliament, and sought the cooperation of political parties to let the house function smoothly.

His appeal fell on deaf ears.

Repeated disruptions in the Lok Sabha over the issue of FDI in retail led to four adjournments before the first day’s session was called off at 2 pm.

The Rajya Sabha too saw heated exchanges — but on one extra issue.

While the SP demanded a rollback of LPG price hike, the BSP was critical of the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh.