Rajya Sabha adjourned till 3 pm after Congress, TDP clash; Lok Sabha stalled over PNB scam, Andhra Pradesh special status

Rajya Sabha saw two disruptions on Thursday already and is set to resume at 3 pm after members continued to create a ruckus in the House. The scene was no different in Lok Sabha which saw relentless protests by Opposition even as the government managed to get two bills passed amid the din.

Congress, TDP clash in Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha was first adjourned till 2 pm on Thursday amid sharp exchanges between former Union minister from the TDP, YS Chowdary, and the Congress members over the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 under the UPA government.

Chowdary, along with another Telugu Desam Party (TDP) member Ashok Gajapathi Raju, had resigned from the Union Cabinet a few days ago to protest against the alleged "injustice" being meted out to Andhra Pradesh by denying the state special category status.

File image of Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

File image of Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

The TDP is a partner in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) but has off late accused the BJP of going back on its words vis-a-vis granting special status to Andhra Pradesh. The Centre, however, has said that it has been providing all the required financial assistance to Andhra Pradesh in various forms.

Minutes after the House met for the day, Chowdary stood up to explain to the House why he resigned from the government, as per Rule 241 of the Upper House's procedures.

As per the said Rule, a member has to read out from the text that he has to submit to the Chair beforehand.

However, in his remark, Chowdary deviated from the text as he blamed the then United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of going ahead with the bifurcation of Andhra state into Telangana and Andhra Pradesh "hastily, unjustly and unscientifically".

This, and other sharp remarks from Chowdary created a furore in the Congress benches and some of its members came near the Chair's podium to protest against Chowdary's remarks. Amid the ruckus, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu adjourned the House till 2 pm, which was later again adjourned till 3 pm.

Earlier, the House paid homage to its former member Hamida Habibullah who passed away two days back aged 101 years.

Lok Sabha proceedings paralysed

The proceedings of Lower House were paralysed for the ninth consecutive day as Opposition parties besides the TRS and the TDP, which is a member of the ruling NDA, stormed the Well as soon as it met and continued with their noisy protests over a number of issues, including the PNB scam, special status for Andhra and increase of quota.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan first adjourned the House till noon and then for the day.

However, the government pushed two bills — The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill and The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill — for passage amid this din and the House passed them with a voice vote.

Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, whose party members were also in the Well, sought a discussion on the bills.

With continuous protests by different parties making the prospect of any discussion improbable, the Speaker went ahead with the proceedings for the passage of bills.

File image of the Lok Sabha. PTI

File image of the Lok Sabha. PTI

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill was an important piece of legislation as he sought the opposition's cooperation.

The Bill notifies the period of maternity leave as part of continuous service and proposes to empower the Central government to notify the gratuity ceiling from time to time without amending the law.

Moving the bill for passage, Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said it is a very important legislation for employees, especially women.

The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill proposes to grant a party the right to seek damages from the other side in case of a breach of a business contract and to reduce the discretion of courts in such matters.

Earlier, as soon as the Speaker took up the Question Hour, members from various parties trooped into the Well holding placards. When Union Minister Ram Kripal Yadav was responding to the first question on rural housing, the protesting members raised their pitch, drowning his voice.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar urged the members of the Opposition parties, including the Congress, to return to their seats and allow the House to function.

He said Parliament is the 'maha panchayat' of the country where issues are discussed but the disruptions are not allowing important issues to be raised.

He also thanked the Speaker for trying to ensure smooth functioning. He said the government is open to discuss issues including bank scam, Cauvery water management board and special status for Andhra Pradesh, but the House has to function first and members have to vacate the Well.

As the protests continued, the House was adjourned till 12 noon minutes before it was adjourned till Friday.

While members of the Congress, TMC, TDP, YSR Congress and TRS were in the Well raising slogans and holding placards, MPs from the Left were standing at their seats and shouting slogans.

Since 5 March, when Parliament had met after a recess, the Lok Sabha has seen disruptions on a daily basis. Despite the House being in pandemonium, the Finance Bill and the appropriation bills were on Wednesday passed by the House without discussion.

With inputs from PTI and IANS

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Updated Date: Mar 15, 2018 14:42:15 IST

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