Protests, sloganeering stall Parliament for 14th consecutive day; Lok Sabha adjourned in under 10 mins

Parliament proceedings were washed out for the 14th consecutive day as both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned in less than 15 minutes of being in session on Thursday. Protests from AIADMK and TDP MPs disrupted both Houses over demand for special status for Andhra Pradesh and formation of Cauvery Management Board.

In all the hullabaloo that ensued, the no-confidence motion noticed moved against the NDA government by the Telugu Desam Party and YSR Congress Party could not be taken up in the Lok Sabha as well.

No-confidence motions not taken up for fifth day

Protests and sloganeering marked the day's proceedings in the Lok Sabha as it began on Thursday. Opposition MPs could be heard chanting "We want justice" in the background, even as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan tried to conduct the day's business. As the protests grew louder, she said, "Nobody wants to listen, nobody wants to run the House."

As soon as the House met, several members rushed near the Speaker's podium raising slogans and showing placards. Mahajan tried to take up the Question Hour but the protests continued.

Barely a minute in, she adjourned the Lok Sabha till 12 pm.

A view of the Lok Sabha as opposition members raise protest in the well of the House, during the Monsoon session at Parliament house in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Before the session resumed, TDP MPs were seen demonstrating inside the Parliament premises demanding special category status for Andhra Pradesh.

The Lower House resumed amid chaos as AIADMK and TDP MPs stormed the Well, making it impossible to run the House. Mahajan, however, continued business as usual.

The Speaker granted extension of time to the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour for presentation of the Report on "Code on Wages Bill, 2017", as introduced in Lok Sabha, up to the end of Monsoon Session, 2018, according to PRS.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar asked the dissenting members to let the House function normally and said the Centre was open to discuss all issues including the no-confidence motions. "I make an appeal to all the MPs that they let the House run. The government is ready for discussion on all issues, be it no-confidence motions or banking related matters," he said.

At this point, Mahajan brought up the issue of the no-confidence notices and said she cannot take up the matter until the House was in order. "I can't see anybody. I need to count heads (to establish a quorum of 50 members)," she said, even as Opposition MPs continued booing, forcing her to adjourn the House till Friday.

Rajya Sabha deadlock continues

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day shortly after the House met on Thursday amid an unending Parliament deadlock on the 14th consecutive day of the second half of the Budget Session.

However, the government managed to pass a key legislation that empowers it to fix the period of maternity leave and the tax-free gratuity amount of employees with an executive order.

The bill was passed by voice vote amid a racket by Opposition parties including the Congress, AIADMK and TDP who were protesting over their various demands.

Soon after the House met, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu greeted the members and the country on World Water Day and urged all to protect the eco-system and support the conservation of water for the future generations.

Naidu sought the cooperation of the members for the passage of the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill moved by Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on 15 March amid a ruckus.

Soon after the bill was passed, members belonging to the AIADMK, the TDP and the Congress gathered near the Chairman's podium and began shouting slogans. Nearly 20 MPs stormed the Well, and refused to go back to their seats.

MoS Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel said, "The government wants to discuss everyone's issues. I request we discuss and pass other Bills."

Naidu urged the protesting MPs to return to their seats but they did not relent. Amid the din, he adjourned the House for the day.

The Congress, the Trinamool and some other Opposition members have been protesting against the banking fraud allegedly committed by absconding jeweller Nirav Modi and his associates, while the TDP and the YSR Congress have been demonstrating for special status to Andhra Pradesh.

The AIADMK has been demanding the setting up of a board for the management of the disputed Cauvery river water.

Since the Budget Session resumed on 5 March, both proceedings have been repeatedly disrupted by members, preventing from transacting legislative business in the Houses. Here is a representation of how many hours both Houses spent since the Parliament resumed its Budget Session:

With inputs from IANS

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Updated Date: Mar 22, 2018 13:14:55 IST

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