Monsoon Session of Parliament: Disruptions, Opposition staging walk-out marks Day 8

Day eight of the Monsoon Session in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha saw revolt and disruptions leading to the adjournment of one House and suspension of members of another House.

Disruptions and protests in the Lok Sabha continued on Wednesday and soon led to its adjournment for the day as Question Hour and some proceedings, included passage of a bill, were conducted amid ruckus.

 Monsoon Session of Parliament: Disruptions, Opposition staging walk-out marks Day 8

File image of Lok Sabha members protesting. PTI

Opposition members from Congress stood near the Speaker's podium, shouting anti-government slogans and clapping in between as the house took up Question Hour, and later passed The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

The Congress members were demanding revoking the suspension of six party MPs as well as a debate on atrocities on Dalits and minorities by cow vigilantes.

Soon after Question Hour, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan urged the MPs to go back to their seats as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj wanted to make a statement on the 39 Indians missing in Iraq.

The Opposition members refused to budge. Soon after as the Speaker let off BJP MP Anurag Thakur with a "warning" for recording Lok Sabha proceedings on his phone, the Congress, which had six MPs suspended for five sittings of the house for throwing papers towards Mahajan, created a further ruckus, demanding that he be suspended too.

The Congress had on Monday filed a complaint against BJP MP Anurag Thakur for what the opposition party said was "filming Lok Sabha proceedings" on Monday, the same day when six of its MPs — Gaurav Gogoi, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Ranjit Ranjan, Sushmita Dev, MK Raghavan and K Suresh — were suspended.

As the din persisted, the house was adjourned for 15 minutes.

When the Lok Sabha reassembled, the Opposition members resumed their seats, and Sushma Swaraj made her statement, saying that there is no evidence of the 39 missing Indians in Iraq being either dead or alive but search for them will continue till there is concrete evidence about their fate.

However, soon after the statement was completed, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge once again questioned the Chair for letting off Thakur with "just a warning".

Kharge said that besides suspending Congress MPs on Monday over their "unbecoming" action, in the past too, Aam Aadmi Party MP Bhagwant Mann was suspended for making a video in the Parliament complex and posting it online.

The Speaker then adjourned the House till 2.15 pm.

After the break, protests continued as The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2017 — which seeks to amend the 2014 Act to declare the Indian Institute of Technology, Design and Manufacturing, Kurnool, as an institution of national importance — was taken up.

As Opposition members continued to raise slogans, Parliamentary Affairs Minister HN Ananth Kumar said the suspended Congress MPs have not even apologised to the Speaker.

"They are not having any repentance. They should have apologised. They have not apologised... Whatever they have done is against Parliament, against traditions and is against democracy. They should not do anti-democratic, anti parliamentary activities," he said.

He also said that the government was ready for a debate on the issue.

As the protests continued, the Speaker adjourned the house for the day.

Meanwhile, in the Rajya Sabha, dissatisfied with Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh's reply on a discussion on the agrarian crisis and farmers' suicides in the country, the entire Opposition on Wednesday walked out of the Rajya Sabha.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The Opposition members, mainly Congress member Digvijaya Singh and Nationalist Congress Party member Praful Patel, accused the minister of just giving out statistics that were already in the public domain and skirting the main issue.

After Radha Mohan Singh started talking about various schemes, the Opposition members asked him to speak about the ongoing farmers' suicides in the country.

The Rajya Sabha had been discussing the agrarian crisis and farmers' distress in the country since Tuesday.

After listing positive results that various schemes yielded, the agriculture minister said the National Crime Record Bureau's report showed that farmers' suicide constituted just 8-10 percent of the total suicide cases in the country.

Subsequently, Digvijaya Singh asked the minister: "Your schemes are very good and you have allotted enough funds. We know it. But tell us why farmers are agitating? Why are they committing suicides?"

Even Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien asked Radha Mohan Singh several times during his long-winded reply — that went on for over an hour — to conclude as the Upper House had to take up other listed business.

However, the minister did not pay heed to the Chair's repeated reminders and continued with his reply.

"How much more time (do) you want to take? Please conclude," Kurien repeatedly told the minister.

The Opposition walked out in protest even as the minister continued with his reply.

At the end of the minister's reply, Digvijaya Singh, who had initiated the short discussion on the agrarian crisis, dared Radha Mohan Singh to go and give the same speech in front of the farmers protesting at Jantar Mantar here.

With inputs from IANS

Updated Date: Jul 26, 2017 22:43:29 IST

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