New Delhi: Notwithstanding reports of a government-BJP thaw, the Parliament was disrupted for the third consecutive day on Thursday over price rise and other issues with no signs of normalcy returning on Friday. The issue of separate Telangana added fuel to the fire in Lok Sabha with members from the region in Andhra Pradesh, majority of them from Congress, creating turmoil. Opposition unity on Thursday appeared to be in tatters with the Left parties accusing BJP of working in tandem with the government while the principal opposition was at pains to explain that it stayed true to its word and the Left had backed out. (JPN/ Agencies)
Despite government attempting to reach out to the Opposition by agreeing to an adjournment motion on the issue of black money, it did not cool tempers in either House and there was trouble from the beginning.
Agitated members raised slogans, staged a sit-in in the Well and walked out, leading to two adjournments of the Lok Sabha and three of the Rajya Sabha.
In the afternoon, Deputy leader of the BJP S S Ahluwalia referred in the Rajya Sabha to the slapping of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, saying it shows the anger among the people over price rise.
"People are agitated over price rise. Just now, we have received information that agitated due to price rise, a person has slapped Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar," he said in the Upper House amid uproar.
Earlier, as soon as the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha assembled for the day, members of Left, BJP, BSP, RJD and BJD were vocal on the issue of price rise.
Left members were pressing for adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha on the issue and debate under a rule which entails voting in the Rajya Sabha.
This was despite the fact that a special discussion under a rule which does not entail voting was listed in the Lok Sabha in the name of CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta and CPI-M leader Basudeb Acharia.
CPI-M Parliamentary Party leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters that the Left would agree to nothing short of an adjournment motion on the issue of price rise.
Inflation has remained near double digit for a long time with high food prices hitting the household budget of the common man.
Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day in the afternoon as the opposition did not heed to repeated pleas of the Chair to allow discussion on price rise.
"We want 167," the entire opposition chanted referring to the Rajya Sabha rule under which voting takes place after a discussion.
Members were not ready to listen to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal who was explaining as to how food inflation has come down.
On Telangana issue, members from the region including those from Congress raised slogans in the Lok Sabha to press for separate statehood demand. Some Congress members were also seen in the well along with TRS supremo K Chandrashekhar Rao and Vijayashanti.
The members refused to leave the well despite Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj assuring them that she was with the demand and that they should first allow a discussion on price rise.
Members of the BJD wanted 'special category status' to flood-ravaged Odisha. BJD members staged a walkout later.
In the din, Speaker Meira Kumar announced that as per the rules, the adjournment motions on "unprecedented rise in prices of essential commodities" moved by SP and other parties could not be accepted. However, a special discussion on the same issue under Rule 193, which does not entail voting, would take place on Thursday.
Opposition unity in tatters
At a media interaction, an agitated Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj insisted that from the first day of the Winter Session of the Parliament BJP had been making all efforts to ensure that the opposition was united and the Parliament runs smoothly.
Accusing both the government and Left parties of not keeping their word on making efforts to run the House and having a debate on black money, Swaraj said BJP had reached out to both and tried to find a way out.
"Yesterday I talked to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and told him that the government has not accepted a single adjournment motion in the 15th Lok Sabha though 7-8 such motions were accepted in the 14th Lok Sabha and even during the NDA government," Swaraj said.
With the aim of ending the stalemate and having a debate on black money in the Parliament, Swaraj even conceded to the government demand for a change in the wording of the adjournment motion.
"The government wanted us to drop the words 'due to government failure' and replace it with 'situation arising out of' in the resolution. I discussed this with BJP leaders L K Advani and Arun Jaitley and Left leaders Gurudas Dasgupta and Basudev Acharia and when they agreed I gave my nod," she said.
Miffed at the Left's charge that BJP and government were working "in tandem", Swaraj said the two Left leaders had even asked her to fax the adjournment motion resolution and said they would move the same in their name as well on Thursday.
Swaraj said as per the agreement reached between the government and BJP, Advani moved an adjournment motion in Lok Sabha for a discussion on black money. The Left moved the same motion.
"Even today at 10 am this was again agreed to by the government and the Left. However, when there was pandemonium in the House and it did not run, I went to the Speaker. A meeting was held in which Bansal, Pranab Mukherjee, Dasgupta, Acharia, Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), Lalu Prasad (RJD) and Dara Singh Chauhan (BSP) were present," Swaraj said.
In the meeting, Yadav suggested all parties were more interested in having a debate on price rise and black money could be discussed on Monday (November 28). Swaraj maintained this was agreed to by her as well as the Left.
"The decision to have a discussion was taken in the presence of these leaders. Government promised that it would control the Telangana MPs during the debate. But when the debate began and TRS and eight Congress MPs from Telangana created an uproar, no cabinet minister was present," she said.
BJP claimed it wanted the House to run yesterday also but Left parties insisted on moving the adjournment motion on price rise again and it conceded in order to keep intact opposition unity.
"And for the House not functioning today, Congress is solely responsible and it seems it does not want the House to run. Congress is not able to manage the floor or control its own members (from Telangana)," Swaraj said.
Asked if a change in the wording of the adjournment motion on black money would have diluted its stand, the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said "the content of our speeches in the House would have covered everything."
New Delhi: Notwithstanding reports of a government-BJP thaw, the Parliament was disrupted for the third consecutive day on Thursday over price rise and other issues with no signs of normalcy returning on Friday.
The issue of separate Telangana added fuel to the fire in Lok Sabha with members from the region in Andhra Pradesh, majority of them from Congress, creating turmoil.
Opposition unity on Thursday appeared to be in tatters with the Left parties accusing BJP of working in tandem with the government while the principal opposition was at pains to explain that it stayed true to its word and the Left had backed out.