Budget Session of Parliament: Impasse over PNB scam, Andhra special status disrupt proceedings in both Houses

The Budget Session of Parliament saw a repeat of Monday's commotion as proceedings in both Houses of Parliament — Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha — were stalled for the seventh day with no let up in protests by Opposition parties.

Proceedings in the Lok Sabha were disrupted once again on Tuesday morning amid continuing protests by the Opposition over the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and other issues, forcing Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to adjourn the House till 12 pm.

The Rajya Sabha was also adjourned till 2 pm, minutes after it met for the day. Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu adjourned the House after the Opposition insisted on a discussion on the Rs 12,600 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam under Rule 168, which Naidu rejected.

Trinamool Congress MP Sukhendu Shekhar Roy raised a point of order, saying that he had given a notice under Rule 168 for discussion on the PNB scam and had fulfilled all the conditions laid down in the rules but still his notice was rejected by the Chair.

Roy said that this denial by the Chair went against the "principles of natural justice". Naidu said that he was ready to allow discussion on the issue under Rule 176. However, the Opposition persisted with its demand. Meanwhile, a few members stood up and moved towards the Chair's podium with placards. Naidu then adjourned the House.

Minutes earlier, he had appealed to all the members of the Upper House of Parliament not to display placards and banners as it was against the rules.

A similar situation was witnessed in the Lok Sabha as well.

Members from different parties trooped near the Speaker's podium, raising slogans on different issues, including the banking irregularities. This is the seventh consecutive day of disruptions in the Lower House. Speaker Mahajan tried to take up the Question Hour, but in the din, the House was soon adjourned.

AIADMK MPs lodged their protest over the constitution of Cauvery Management Board, while YSRCP MPs were seen holding placards and shouting slogans and demanded special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar said that the BJP has issued a three-line whip to all the MPs: "We have included all important issues in the list of business. We have also issued a three-line whip to all our MPs. We request all the parties to let the Parliament function and discuss constructively," Kumar said. Slamming Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia, he said that it seems that they 'don't believe in democracy'.

The second half of the Parliament Budget Session, which resumed on 5 March, has been a complete washout so far, with the government unable to push through any of its legislation. On Monday, the Aam Aadmi Party too joined the protests in Rajya Sabha, demanding an end to the sealing drive in Delhi. Amid the din in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla introduced The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018, that seeks to confiscate all assets of absconding fraudsters and loan defaulters for recovering dues from them.

The Bill was introduced in the backdrop protests over the nearly Rs 12,700 crore fraud at Punjab National Bank in which businessman Nirav Modi is allegedly involved.

The proposed law will apply to defaulters who have an outstanding of Rs 100 crore or more and have escaped from the country. The minister also introduced the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill 2018.

Not much business has been carried out since the second leg of the Budget Session of Parliament began, with the noisy protests stalling proceedings every day, barring for one hour on 8 March when members participated in a discussion to mark the International Women's Day in the Upper House.

The two houses have been witnessing bedlam since 5 March. The TDP, which remains a member of the ruling NDA though it has pulled out of the central government, is demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Mar 13, 2018 13:02:39 IST

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