President's appeal falls on deaf ears: Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha discuss only adjournments

Despite President Pranab Mukherjee's "anguished" appeal on Thursday, parliamentarians continued to stall both the Houses of Parliament on Friday. The constant ruckus and loud slogan-shouting forced Lok Sabha to be adjourned for the day as early as 12.30 pm on Friday.

Rajya Sabha decided to meet at 2.30 pm after two adjournments since 11 am when the session began. Adding salt to injury, a delegation of parliamentarians from Vietnam were present in both the Houses to see how the Indian Parliament functions. Interestingly, the Opposition parties met with Speaker Sumitra Mahajan before Parliament sessions began to break the ongoing logjam.

Here is what happened so far in Parliament:

Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned till noon on Friday as the Opposition criticised the government for reducing import duty on wheat to zero percent. Sitaram Yechury of the CPM raised the issue which was supported by the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party and others.

Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien asked the members to maintain silence and let the house function, but they did not pay any attention to his pleas. The opposition members began shouting slogans like "anti-farmer government will not be allowed to function".

The house was then adjourned till noon. The Rajya Sabha session resumed at 12 pm but was soon adjourned till 2.30 pm after protesting MPs stormed the Well and made it impossible for the Upper House to function.

Lok Sabha

The Lok Sabha was adjourned twice this morning in quick succession as members of the treasury benches and opposition sparred over frequent disruptions and the goverment seeking an apology from opposition for paralysing the proceedigs for 16 days.

As soon as the House met for the day, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan welcomed a delegation from Vietnam's National Assembly.

As the Lok Sabha will not meet on December 13, she referred to the Parliament attack of 2001 and recalled the courage of 8 Delhi Police, CRPF and Parliament Security Service Personnel who had died defending the people inside the Parliament complex.

As soon as she announced taking up the Question Hour, Congress Leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge rose apparently to raise the issue of demonetisation.

But before he could speak, BJP members shouted to remind him of the remarks of President Pranab Mukherjee who had said the House is not a place for dharnas and disruption which amounts to "gagging of majority" by the minority.

Soon, a verbal spat broke out between the two sides and the Speaker adjourned the House till 1130 hours.

When the House met again, Kharge said the Opposition was ready for debating demonetisation and has been continuously requesting for it. "We are ready for debate on demonetisation and its repercussions," he said.

However, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar immediately shot back saying the Opposition has disrupted the House for 16 days by holding it into ransom and they must tender apology.

"For 16 days they have disrupted the House and held the House hostage. Majority wanted to debate. But Congress, TMC and Left members are not allowing the House to function. The situation has reached such a stage that the President had to speak against the disruption. They must tender apology to the people of the country," he said.

BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said for protests and sit-ins, as suggested by the President, Jantar Mantar is the best place and not the Parliament and hence the Opposition must apologise. The Lok Sabha resumed at 12 pm and even though Mahajan tried to maintain peace and let the Zero Hour continue amid din, it was almost impossible to hear the MPs who were speaking.

Mahajan adjourned the Lok Sabha for the day and said that the House will meet again on 14 December at 11 am.

With inputs from PTI and IANS

Updated Date: Dec 09, 2016 13:16:32 IST