Hey Ram! Indian Parliament in Limbo

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tributes to Mahatma Gandhi

Opposition is stalling the proceedings at Indian Parliament’s Monsoon session over the corruption allegations against top BJP leaders. An all-party meeting on Monday is expected to thaw the situation….Asian Lite News reports

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tributes to Mahatma Gandhi
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tributes to Mahatma Gandhi

With even the second week of the ongoing monsoon session of parliament almost washed away, the Narendra Modi government has called an all-party meeting on Monday to end the logjam over the Lalit Modi and Vyapam issues.

Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha witnessed uproarious scenes on Friday, facing several adjournments and verbal spats even outside the houses as well, with both the government and the opposition blaming each other for the stalemate in parliament.

The government, meanwhile, said it had called an all-party meeting on Monday to discuss the standoff.

Opposition protests began in both houses soon after they met for the day.

In the Lok Sabha, opposition members put up placards and moved near the speaker’s podium, shouting slogans like “Pradhan mantri jawab do (prime minister please reply)” and “We want justice”.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu asked the speaker to take action as “they (opposition parties) are doing it again and again”.

Though the protesting members went back to their seats while Home Minister Rajnath Singh made a statement on the terror attack in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, they were back near the speaker’s podium as soon as he had finished.

This prompted the home minister to say that the Congress was not serious about terrorism, triggering yet another verbal duel between the treasury and the opposition benches.

“Neither the country, nor parliament should look divided on terrorism which is the biggest challenge to the country,” Rajanth Singh said.

The Lok Sabha saw several adjournments through the day, before it was finally adjourned at 3.30 p.m.

Similar situation prevailed in the Rajya Sabha, where Congress leader Anand Sharma said “the prime minister responds to our demand for accountability”.

In a repeat of the proceedings on other days in this session, the government and the opposition were not on the same page on how to take up the discussion, and the upper house witnessed a din throughout.

After seeing several adjournments, when the house met at 2.30 p.m., the opposition and the government agreed to suspend the day’s private member business for the next session, prompting Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien to say that the two sides must sort out their differences.

The house was adjourned for the day shortly afterwards.

The government later blamed the opposition for the disruptions, while the Congress said government was at fault.

“The government is always willing to find a reasonable way out of this impasse. We are ready for an all-party meeting,” union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu told the media here on Friday.

“We wanted an all-party meeting today (Friday). But the Congress leaders – for reasons best known to them – are still to confirm their participation. I have been talking to the leaders of various parties, including the Congress, for more than a week now and urging them to ensure normal functioning of parliament,” the minister said.

“Now, we will convene the all-party meet on Monday,” Naidu added.

Congress leader Anand Sharma, however, said the stalemate in parliament was because of the “obduracy and arrogance” of the prime minister and his government.

“The opposition is doing its duty by raising issues that are in the public domain. Parliament has a responsibility to ensure the accountability of the government,” Anand Sharma said.

“We have made a very reasonable proposition to the government… Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) in particular has till today made no effort,” he added.