New Delhi: Proceedings in both the Houses of Parliament were disrupted over the timing of debate on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement on 'cash-for-votes' scam on Tuesday. The NDA staged a boycott of the discussion on Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha.

BJP also gave notice for Breach of Privilege against the Prime Minister, alleging that he had misled Parliament by denying bribery during the 2008 Confidence Motion to save the UPA-I government.

Adjournments in Houses

The Rajya Sabha witnessed three adjournments and the Lok Sabha one because of the pandemonium created after the Opposition pressed for urgent debate on Singh's statement in which he has denied purchase of any MP during the trust vote.

In the Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj came face-to-face over the timing of the discussion. While Swaraj wanted immediate discussion, Pranab argued that it could take place after the passage of the Finance Bill.

Addressing the Opposition, Mukherjee said, "We agreed to short duration debate after the Finance Bill is passed. We have no problem to discussion under Rule 192 (which does not entail voting). But please allow the Finance Bill to be passed first."

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said the Opposition also wants passage of the Finance Bill but it should be taken up only after two-and-a-half hour debate on PM's statement.

Swaraj said if the debate is allowed on the PM's statement, "We are ready to sit here till 12 am in night (to pass the Finance Bill)."

Countering her, the Finance Minister said a precedent like this should not be created.

P C Chacko, who was in the Chair, also ruled that the Finance Bill should be taken up first and Mukherjee started moving the Bill.

Unhappy over this, Swaraj led a walkout, asking the government to pass the Finance Bill without the main Opposition if it was so adamant.

Earlier, Speaker Meira Kumar told Swaraj that her notice of Breach of Privilege against the Prime Minister was being examined by her.

In the Rajya Sabha, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley rose to say that he had given two notices - one on privilege motion against the Prime Minister and the other seeking a discussion under Rule 176, which does not entail voting.

Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan said Chairman Hamid Ansari was seized of the matter and a decision was yet to be taken on the two notices given by the Leader of the Opposition.

However, BJP members persisted that Jaitley should be allowed to speak.


Cong seeks BJP apology over WikiLeaks

Congress on Tuesday demanded an apology from the main opposition alleging it had lowered Parliament's dignity by raising "unverified leaks" in the House.

Congress also dismissed the statement of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assanage that Indian leaders were trying to mislead the public by challenging the authenticity of US diplomatic cables, which suggested that some MPs were bribed during the 2008 trust vote.

In response to questions, party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said, "Assanage is author of WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks by definition are only leaks. When we have said we do not like to dignify WikiLeaks by a response, we will obviously not like to dignify Assanage with response on his comments."

Trashing WikiLeaks as "unverified and unverifiable leaks", she said, "However, the BJP sought to raise it to the level of Indian Parliament, to an issue of national level. The opposition party has thereby sullied the integrity of our Parliament by raising the issue on the floor of the House for purely politically expedient reasons."

Don’t preach on human rights: Modi to US

Gujarat Chief minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the US need not preach India on human rights. He criticided the US for its concerns on this issue in his state as reflected in leaked diplomatic cables from an American Consul.

Modi said the cables had also spoken of him being "incorruptible" and Gujarat being a "progressive" state, adding that the Central government should address the issue of US "interference" in the internal affairs of India.

"(Michael) Owen had discussed Gujarat..I looked into his eyes and said America should not give us advice on human rights," Modi recalled. Michael S Owen was US' Consul General in Mumbai when he had a meeting with Modi in 2006.

Modi reiterated his stand in the wake of Owen's purported November 2, 2006 cable made public by Wikileaks that "direct encounters with Modi will also enable us to deliver a clear message regarding USG (United States Government) concerns for the state of human rights and religious freedom in Gujarat."

The US had denied visa to the BJP stalwart in 2005 in the wake of 2002 post-Godhra riots.

(JPN/Agencies)