14/12/2015 5:23 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Repeated Adjournments In Parliament Will Result In Winter Session Washout, Warns Jaitley

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA - DECEMBER 4: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at Parliament House during the winter session on December 4, 2015 in New Delhi, India. Bills aimed at checking rising pollution levels and setting up of a statutory commission for the OBCs were among the 30 private members' bills introduced in the Lok Sabha. (Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

As continuous disruptions in the Rajya Sabha resulted in several adjournments on Monday, finance minister Arun Jaitley warned that the Parliament's winter session would become a "washout".

"The reasons for washout keep changing by the hour," said Jaitley, exasperated.

Soon after a new member, Narendra Kumar Swain of BJD, took oath and Chairman Hamid Ansari read out obituary reference of an ex-member, Sharad Anantrao Joshi, BSP supremo Mayawati was on her feet raising the issue of alleged chopping off of limbs of two dalit youth at a farmhouse in Abohar.

With the Chair continuing with the listed business of getting papers laid on the table, slogan shouting BSP and Congress members trooped into the Well of the House.

They shouted "Dalit virodhi yeh sarkar nahi chalegi (anti-Dalit government will not be tolerated)" as well as slogans seeking dismisal of SAD-BJP government in Punjab.

Amid the din, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a suo motu statement on her visit to Islambad and recent development relating to ties between India and Pakistan.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affiars Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government condemns the incident in strongest possible terms and supports strict action being taken against the accused, but a state subject cannot be discussed in Parliament.

Law and order is a state subject, he said, adding that the state government has to be trusted upon for taking action against the guilty.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said Swaraj had made an important statement and he would allow clarifications to be asked on it. But none heeded.

"If you have any problem, you go to your seat. I will allow you to raise," he said. "Please go to your seat. Why are you doing this?"

As his pleas went unheeded, he said "some members are hijacking the House". "It is most unfortunate, undemocratic that few members are taking the House to ransom. You have no justification for doing it," he said, adjourning the House till 11.30 hours.

When the House reassembled, Congress and BSP members were again in Well.

Kurien tried to pacify the agitating members and urged them to return to their seats, but the sloganeering continued.

Naqvi said "The culprits should be given strictest possible punishment. State government is taking action. State government should be trusted," he said.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the incident took place in a farm house and alleged that there was "jungle raj" in Punjab. He also said a 12-year old girl was run over by a vehicle.

"The coalition government in Punjab is worse than terrorism. There is no law and order in the state. The state government should be dismissed. ... We are not just demanding action (against accused), we are talking about dismissal of the (state) government," Azad said.

Terming the Punjab incident as "painful and shameful", BSP chief Mayawati alleged that the liquor mafia was behind the incident and said the two youths were called to the farm house, as part of a conspiracy, and their legs and hands chopped off using a saw.

"Central government should intervene. The state government should be dismissed," she said as members in the Well raised slogans like 'Dalit virodhi sarkar nahi chalegi.

(Anti-Dalit government will not be tolerated)".

As the din continued, Kurien said he was "disappointed" with the "unruly behaviour" of the slogan shouting members and adjourned the Rajya Sabha till noon.

When the House reassembled, BSP and Congress members again came into the Well as Chairman Hamid Ansari announced that Question Hour be taken up.

"Please go back to your seats. The Questions are yours, not of the government," Ansari said, but protesting members continued to raise slogans.

Ansari's pleas to allow the House to function went unheeded as members raised slogans like "Punjab sarkar barkhast karo (dismiss the Punjab government)".

"You have no locus standi in the Well. None whatsoever," said Ansari as his pleas to members to return to their seats did not evoke any response.

He then adjourned the House till 12:30 PM. When the House reassembled, Congress and BSP members again trooped into the Well, with Naqvi saying that the government condemns the incident in strongest terms and the SAD-BJP government in Punjab is taking "strict action without any dilly-dallying".

Asserting that law and order was a state subject, Naqvi assured that "perpetrators of the crime will not be spared at any cost" and called it a "serious and unfortunate" incident.

Ansari tried to convince members to return to their seats but as the din continued, he adjourned the House till 2 PM.

As the House reconvened at 2PM, the protests continued. Congress and BSP members stormed the Well raising anti-government slogans.

Amid the din, Congress leader Anand Sharma raised the issue of exclusion of Kerala Chief Minister from a Prime Minister's event tomorrow in the Kerala.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley intervened to say that the matter pertained to a private organisation's withdrawal of invitation and it should not be raised in the House.

Vice Chairman P J Kurien also asked the Congress members to fight the issue politically on the ground rather than in the House.

Sharma said that an OSD from the Prime Minister's Office had called Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy stating that they had heard that he would not be presiding over the event.

As the din continued, Social Justice and Development Minister Thawar Chand Ghelot introduced the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Amendment Bill. But no discussion could take place as the House was adjourned till 3 PM.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said on one hand, Dalits were being burnt alive in a state ruled by the government's ally, on the other they were bringing a Bill.

An AIADMK member raised the issue of Chennai floods when Kurien said he is donating Rs one crore and asked every member to donate money whole-heartedly.

When the House re-assembled at 3 pm, Congress and BSP members again entered the Well demanding sacking of "Dalit Virodhi" Punjab government, to which Minister of State Naqvi said the need of the hour was a strong legislation to prevent atrocities on SC/STs and sought members cooperation to pass the related Bill.

"The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2015 is a Bill to prevent atrocities on Dalits...We need a strong legislation.

Please cooperate to get the Bill passed," he said, adding that while the Centre has already condemned the incident, Punjab government was taking strong steps in the case.

Kurien who was in the Chair urged the BSP and Congress Members return to their seats and sought their cooperation in passing the Bill, but his appeals were not heeded to.

Leader of the Opposition, Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the Opposition would ensure that the Bill is passed in the current session itself but not until normalcy is restored in the House.

"This is our Bill. Congress Party brought it. We are keen that it is passed. My promise to the government is that the Bill will be passed in this session but not like this when the House is not in order," Azad said.

Naqvi quipped, "If they are interested then why not today ...let us move the motion."

However, K N Balagopal (CPI-M) said he wanted to raise a point of order as the Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was listed in the legislative business before the SCST atrocities Bil.

Kurien objected that the matter should have been raised earlier. Tiruchi Siva (DMK) and D Raja (CPI) were on their feet saying something which could not be heard amid slogan shouting by the BSP members.

Amid the din, Kurien adjourned the House for the day saying, "You don't want SC/ST bill. Leader of Opposition says it cannot be passed in the din. What can I do?"

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