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Parliament logjam washes out first week's business

Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha witnessed deadlock that began from the start of the second part of the session on March 5 over the manner in which a debate should be held on the Rs 12,600 crore PNB fraud and other issues.

Reported by: IANS, New Delhi [ Published on: March 09, 2018 21:24 IST ]
Parliament of India

The first week of the resumed Budget Session of Parliament was a complete washout as it failed to transact any business again on Friday due to the standoff between the government, some of its allies and the opposition over a range of issues including demand of special status to Andhra Pradesh, the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and Cauvery water dispute.

Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha witnessed deadlock that began from the start of the second part of the session on March 5 over the manner in which a debate should be held on the Rs 12,600 crore PNB fraud and other issues like demand of special status to Andhra Pradesh.

The logjam in Lok Sabha continued for the fifth consecutive day on Friday amid continuing protests by the opposition and its allies. The protests started soon after the House met for the day, and amid the din, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House till noon, within five minutes after it assembled.

At noon when the House reassembled, members from different parties again moved towards the Speaker's podium, holding placards and raising slogans.

Congress members were questioning Nirav Modi's escape, while the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and YSR Congress MPs demanded special category status for Andhra Pradesh. Members from the AIADMK, meanwhile, sought the creation of a board to manage the waters of Cauvery river.

Amid the din, Mahajan adjourned the House for the day.

The scene was no different in the Rajya Sabha. The Upper House continued to witness uproarious scenes over various issues including the TDP demand for special status and the PNB fraud, forcing the Chair to adjourn it for the day.

As soon as the house reassembled at 2.30 p.m. after an adjournment, Congress, TDP and AIADMK members trooped near the Chairman's podium and started sloganeering.

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien urged the protesting members to allow him to conduct private members' business but the agitating members remained on their feet.

Congress member Pramod Tiwary was heard saying something about the Punjab National Bank fraud and demanding the Centre's response on the issue.

TDP members held placards in support of their demand for special status for Andhra Pradesh while AIADMK members from Tamil Nadu raked up the Cauvery water issue.

Amid the sloganeering, Kurien adjourned the house till Monday morning.

Earlier, agitating members forced Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu to adjourn the proceedings till 2.30 p.m.

As soon as Naidu called for Zero Hour after laying of papers, the TDP and AIADMK members were on their feet. They trooped near the Chairman's podium and started shouting.

Naidu urged them to return to their seats, and said a week has already been wasted due to the protests.

But the agitating members did not relent. Amid the chaos, the Chairman adjourned the house till 2.30 p.m.

The second part of the budget session of Parliament began on March 5 after a month-long recess and will conclude on April 6. The first part of the budget session was held from January 29 to February 9. 

On Wednesday Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan tried to end the impasse by holding a meeting of leaders of various parties to find a solution but it failed as the opposition parties rejected the government's proposal to hold a discussion on the PNB fraud under Rule 193 which does not entail voting.

On Thursday, on the occasion of International Women's Day, the Rajya Sabha functioned for a brief period when women members urged the government to pass the Women's Reservation Bill.

Now, both the Houses will meet on Monday.

Meanwhile, the BJP has issued a whip to its members asking them to remain present in both Houses from March 13 to March 15 in view of plans to get passed some of the bills including on OBCs, tracking fugitive economic offenders and Triple Talaq.

In the Lok Sabha, the government intends to bring The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017, The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017, and The Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

In the Rajya Sabha, the government intends to bring The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017, and The State Banks (Repeal and Amendment) Bill, 2017. OBC Bill, Economic Offenders Bill 2018 and Triple Talaq Bill also remain the main focus of the government during this session.

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