The Opposition has accused the government of not wanting the Parliament to function as the impasse in the House continued on Monday after resumption of the Budget Session. The rule under which the Nirav Modi-Mehul Choksi bank fraud is to be discussed has become a sticking point, according to sources. While the government does not want a vote, the Opposition is keen on a discussion with voting in the Rajya Sabha and an adjournment motion in Lok Sabha.
Trinamool Congress Parlia-mentary party leader Derek O’Brien said, “The Opposition parties want discussion on the bank scam in Parliament under a certain rule. But government is being obstinate and sticking to a rule which only suits them. Government strategy is not to allow Parliament to run this week.”
The Congress-Trinamool Opposition axis seemed to be back in business on Monday after days of giving each other the cold-shoulder. The two parties met inside the room of Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday and attempted some floor coordination.
A discussion “on the reported scams in some Public Sector Banks and failure of the banking regulators to check them” was listed in Rajya Sabha for the second day on Monday in the name of MPs Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Naresh Gujral, Anil Desai, Harivansh, Roopa Ganguly and R K Sinha but could not take place as proceedings were washed out due to opposition protests.
The notice for the discussion has been given under Rule 176 which does not require voting. Opposition wants the discussion to happen under Rule 167 which entails voting and a notice has already been submitted by Trinamool MP Sukhendusekhar Roy. In the Rajya Sabha, even though BJP is the single largest party with 58 MPs, a discussion under a voting rule could leave the government red-faced with ally TDP on the warpath and AIADMK agitating over the Cauvery issue.
The situation is slightly more complicated in the Lok Sabha, where a notice under Rule 193 had been submitted by K C Venugopal of the Congress and N K Premachandran of RSP. It says “to raise a discussion on alleged systemic irregularities in banking sector over the years and its impact on Indian economy”. The Congress has alleged that words in the notice have been changed to suit the government.
While Congress and Trinamool are back to formal coordination with each other, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee is unlikely to attend Congress leader Sonia Gandhi’s dinner on Tuesday. The party will be represented by Sudip Bandopadhyay at the event.