New Delhi, Dec 30: The Rajya Sabha witnessed a mid-night drama after the government said that there was no time left for voting and passage of the Lokpal Bill, while an angry Opposition accused it of getting into a “hopeless” minority and running away from Parliament.
As the prolonged debate, which started at 11 in the morning, was well past 11.30 at night, the Opposition had a lurking suspicion that the UPA which is in minority in the Upper House was up to some game plan to avoid a voting.
Senior leaders from the BJP, Left and AIADMK kept on asking Chairman Hamid Ansari whether business of the House would remain in continuity at 12 when the extended time period of the Winter Session expires.
However, Ansari did not give a clear reply, but when pressurised, he adjourned the proceedings for 15 minutes at around 11.30 pm.
During the adjournment period, senior ministers, including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal were huddled, apparently discussing the strategy.
When the House re-assembled 11.43 pm, Bansal said since the government has received 187 adjournments to the Bill, it needed time to study the same. It led to angry protests from the BJP, Left, AIDMK, JD (U).
Earlier, two of the RJD members—Rajneetin Prasad and Ram Kirpal Yadav, snatched papers from MoS Parliamentary Affairs V Naryanasamy in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. RJD supremo Lalu Prasad was in the visitors' gallery when his MPs were resorting to unruly behaviour.
While, the Opposition was protesting against “choregraphed” plan of the government, Rajneeti Prasad even sat in the Well of the House evoking sharp response from Ansari.
Even after Ansari adjourned the House sine die following the National Song, the members of the Opposition parties shouted and demanded resignation of the Prime Minister, who was leaving the House.
As the Opposition members marching outwards, they went on shouting slogans—“drama hai, drama hai, shame, shame”.
Earlier, when Narayanasamy in his reply referred to the issue of Lokayuktas, Trinamool member Sukhendu Roy, was on his feet and shouted at him, “The Minister is misleading the House. You have no right...”
As Narayansamy was booed frequently by Opposition members which formed an overwhelming majority in the 243-member Upper House. Everytime the minister resorted to replying in his sore throat voice, he was booed.
The Prime Minister and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee who were the leading speakers in the Lok Sabha on the Bill did not speak in Rajya Sabha.
Trinamool Congress, a key ally of the UPA, was among the host of regional parties which were dead against the provision of Lokayuktas and charged that it was meant to cut into the autonomy of the states.
Even DMK and J&K National Conference had reservations on the clause.
While there were differenecs between the BJP and BSP and JD-U on the issue of reservation for OBCs, SCs, STs and minorities, their leaders remained in regular consultations in the House on what clearly appeared their strategy to corner the government.
BJP leader S S Ahluwalia was going to and fro the benches of the BSP and the Left parties where S C Mishra (BSP) and Sitarama Yechury (CPI-M) were seated.