Opposition Deadlock Parliament For Third Day Over Conversion, Christmas Holiday

17/12/2014 3:57 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST
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NEW DELHI, INDIA - DECEMBER 16: A View of Parliament house during the Parliament Winter Session on December 16, 2014 in New Delhi, India. Lok Sabha passed a bill to regularise unauthorized colonies and rehabilitate slum dwellers in poll-bound Delhi.( Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI: Deadlock continued for the third day in Rajya Sabha today with a united opposition insisting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should reply to a debate on communal incidents which was not acceptable to the government.

Congress member Hanumantha Rao was asked to withdraw from the House for the day by Chairman Hamid Ansari after he created ruckus.

Members from Congress, SP and Left stood up as soon as the House met for the day, demanding assurance that Prime Minister would be present during the debate listed for the day.

Government, however, said it was ready for a discussion and accused the opposition of disrupting the House. It said the issue relates to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Home Minister Rajnath Singh would reply.

An unrelenting opposition kept raising the demand and created uproar leading to one adjournment during the Zero Hour and three during the post-noon Question Hour.

Amid the uproar, Chairman Hamid Ansari asked Congress member Hanumantha Rao to leave the House due to his "gross disorderly conduct." Rao, along with other opposition members, were raising slogans in the Well despite warnings by the Chair.

Naresh Agarwal (SP) raised a point of order demanding that Prime Minister should reply in Parliament and not at BJP Parliamentary Party meeting to announce policy decisions when Session was on and sought his reply to the debate.

This prompted Leader of the House Arun Jaitley to say, "The Prime Minister has not announced any policy decisions in the party meeting. In the name of Point of Order, can Naresh Agarwal raise every day in the House a Point of Disorder?"

Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said since the opposition is being termed as "anarchist" he wanted to raise a 'Point of Disorder' if the Prime Minister was willing to come to the House to reply to the debate on the contentious issue of communal violence as that can end the deadlock.

"Will the Prime Minister come to listen to our discussion and reply to it? Then the country will know who are anarchists - we or they," he said.

Anand Sharma (Cong) said, "If the Prime Minister does not come, there will be no work in this House. This House will not run, let us make it clear."

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "Government is ready for discussion but opposition only wants disruption." .

Sharma said the whole country is watching that anarchy in the House is due to the government's attitude and demanded that the Prime Minister be present to reply to the debate.

He said the Prime Minister should hear the Opposition and answer their questions on the issue as it was a reasonable demand in a democracy.

Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said this House was restless as there was no peace outside.

At this, Naqvi said, "This is their own political restlessness. This political restlessness is because people of the country have rejected them and will do so further."

On the opposition demand, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked as to how the Chair could direct the government to ensure the Prime Minister's presence.

"It is for the Prime Minister to decide whether to come or not. How can I say," he said.

The House saw uproar with heated exchanges between the opposition and treasury benches.

Earlier Pramod Tiwari (Cong) raised a point of order saying the Constitution makes the Prime Minister and the Ministers responsible towards the House.

"We are not asking for something unconstitutional. People are spreading communalism outside and the Prime Minister has also admitted that MPs are crossing 'Lakshman Rekha'. This country is sitting on a powder keg," he said.

He was countered by Tarun Vijay (BJP), who said the House was ready for a discussion on 'Vijay Diwas' yesterday noting the contribution of Indian soldiers and honour former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for her contribution to the 1971 war but the opposition is creating ruckus. "Are they from a different planet? Are they special?" he questioned.

Later when Naresh Agarwal asked for status of his notice on the issue of rising incidents of communal violence, Ansari said it was infructuous as the debate has already been listed.

"You take care of your side, let government take care of its side," Ansari said as opposition kept asking if the Prime Minister would be present during the debate.

Uproar In Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha today witnessed uproar over the reported move to keep schools open on Christmas with several opposition parties accusing government of "misleading" the House and implementing Sangh Parivar agenda, evoking a sharp attack on the Gandhi family from treasury benches.

Congress, TMC, Left and NCP walked out of the House, expressing dissatisfaction over government's reply that Christmas holiday will not be disturbed as it observes 'Good Governance Day' to mark the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which is also on December 25.

The issue, which has been causing uproar in Parliament since Monday, was raised by K C Venugopal (Cong) who read out official "circulars" asking schools and universities to observe the day by organising several activities.

The circulars, he said, also sought photographs and video-recordings of these events as a proof of their compliance. "How can you send photographs and videos without holding events in schools," he asked, countering government's claim that these were online activities.

Government's reply is "incorrect" and "misleading", he said as several opposition raised slogans.

In his reply, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu instead charged opposition with "misleading" the nation and said it's a very sensitive issue.

As Naidu insisted that Christmas holiday will not be disturbed and quoted a circular to this effect, some opposition members accused the government of implementing Sangh Parivar agenda.

The minister then took a dig at the Gandhi family, saying "Family ka saath, desh ka vinash, Congress ka vinash (With family, destruction of country, destruction of Congress)".

This was vociferously opposed by Congress members.

"They attacked my family, I have attacked theirs. If they withdraw their words, I will mine," Naidu said.

He said government was observing 'Good Governance Day' as Vajpayee was born on Christmas day as there was no question of "disrespect" to the festival.

Shouting slogans against the government, Congress members walked out. They were joined by TMC, Left and NCP.

"What can I do? My great former Prime Minister (Vajpayee) was born on that day," Naidu said in his reply and noted that functions are held on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2 as well.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani was also heard shouting amid the din that the government had not misled the House.

Earlier, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said she had sought "facts" about the matter from the HRD Ministry.

As soon as the House met for the day, some Congress members wanted to raise the issue saying that school students are confused about the reported plans of the Ministry.

"I have asked for facts (on the issue) from HRD Ministry," Mahajan said amid protests from Congress members.

There have been reports that government was planning to hold good governance day celebrations in schools on December 25, which is a holiday because of Christmas.

In the wake of the controversy, Irani had said schools and colleges would remain closed on December 25.

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