Proceedings in Parliament on Thursday were marked by protests over 'unparliamentary' remarks, lessons in pronunciation, poetry sessions, and—believe it or not— some legislative business. The Rajya Sabha passed two significant bills, even as there was another uproar over BJP member Subramanian Swamy's allegations the Congress' first family.
Subramanian Swamy sparks political row...again
Rajya Sabha witnessed angry scenes with the opposition and treasury benches involved in a war of words after Subramanian Swamy mentioned the name of a European nation, a reference later expunged by the chair.
Swamy came in the direct line of fire of Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad who said that the BJP member did not know the difference between "parliamentary and street language". Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien too remarked that Swamy, a known Congress baiter, is "unnecessarily provoking" the opposition.
The commotion started as soon as the upper house met, when Bharatiya Janata Party's Swamy, who raised the opposition's temper on Wednesday with certain references that were later expunged, was on his feet.
Swamy kept standing, which got the Congress members agitated. He made an oblique comment on the party leadership, to which the Congress protested. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi then said it was wrong to stop any member from speaking.
For the second day in a row, the controversial Panama papers found an echo in Parliament. While the issue was raised in the Rajya Sabha by the Samajwadi Party on Wednesday, the allegations were debated in Lok Sabha on Thursday by the JD(U).
Kaushalendra Kumar of the party asked the government to make public the names of Indians mentioned in it as it was a case of "tax evasion". Kumar also accused the RBI Governor of making "contradictory" comments on the matter, alleging that he had said some of the money had gone there as per RBI rules.
"I want to tell the government that it should take legal action against these people. Their names should be made public. It is not clear so far how much serious the government is," he said in the Zero Hour, drawing support from some opposition members.
The issue of Dalit student Rohith Vemula's suicide was raised in Parliament in the context of a bill seeking to amend the list of Scheduled Castes in some parts of the country. The opposition, citing the case of Hyderabad student Rohith Vemula, accused the government of not being sincere in working for the interest of the Scheduled Castes. However, the opposition supported "with a sad heart", the government's bill.
"I stand in support of the Bill with a sad heart," JD(U) leader KC Tyagi said as the The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2016, passed by the Lok Sabha, was taken up for discussion.
The proposed legislation seeks to amend the Constitution to include certain castes in the list of Scheduled Sastes (SC) in five states. It was earlier passed in the Lok Sabha. The bill includes certain castes like Sais, Aheria and Peruvannan, in the SC list of states like Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal.A
AAP leader Bhagwant Mann decided to take the lyrical route to criticising the BJP-led Central government. "Mr Prime Minister, at least speak about it during a foreign tour...Is this what you call achche din?" As Mann launched into an unexpected session of poetry, the Parliament proceedings came to life at the fag end of the day.
Earlier in the day, KC Tyagi poked fun at Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien over his pronunciation of names, saying, "aapne arth ka anarth bana diya." Tyagi pointed that Kurien pronounced Raj Babbar's name as 'Babur, ' and remarked that it could lead the BJP to cook up a storm. Will the BJP really latch on to the 'Babur' gaffe? We will know in the days to come.
With inputs from agencies