With just eight days left for the Winter Session of Parliament to come to an end, it appears unlikely, at the moment, that this session will see the GST Bill through. While hectic parleys are on, the last week has seen the Opposition MPs protest over various issues.
To make matters worse for the BJP government, a CBI raid conducted early this morning at the office of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal saw protests inside both Houses.
Ahead of the session this morning, Parliamentary party members of both, the BJP and the Congress, held a meeting to discuss their strategy for the day, but little will be achieved given the repeated adjournments.
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3.15 pm: Rajya Sabha adjourned till tomorrow after repeated disruptions over CBI raids in Delhi.
2.15 pm: Rajya Sabha adjourns till 3 PM after continued uproar over several issues including CBI raids in Delhi.
12.40 pm: Congress, RJD, TMC walkout of Lok Sabha
Meanwhile, Opposition MPs from the Congress, RJD and the Trinamool Congress, walked out of Lok Sabha over the atrocities committed against Dalits in Punjab.
The Congress party has been raising the issue in both Houses, storming the Well and consequentially leading to repeated adjournments.
This, despite the Chairs in both Houses asking the Opposition members to go back to their seats and raise the issue from the benches.
12.15 pm: This is political vendetta in action: Derek O’Brien
“We don’t want to protect any alleged offender in a case of corruption, but this government talks about cooperative federalism. What are they doing about it? This is a campaign to take-down state governments. This is political vendetta in action. This is political vendetta on a Tuesday morning,” O’Brien told NDTV outside Parliament House.
12.00 pm: CBI raids at Kejriwal’s office sees uproar in both Houses
Both Houses of Parliament saw protests by Opposition members over the CBI raids at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office early this morning.
While Finance Minister Arun Jaitley refuted the charges saying the raid had nothing to do with Kejriwal, the chief minister said he was lying in Parliament and this was an attack on the federal structure.
Rajya Sabha saw multiple adjournments, while Lok Sabha saw a discussion over various issues including the death of a Dalit in Punjab.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan made it clear to her Members that state matters will not be raised in the House.
9.45 am: Lok Sabha to discuss price rise
Lok Sabha will discuss the issue of price rise, under rule 193 – that allows a member to raise an issue of public importance. Opposition MPs had issued notice to Lok Sabha secretary general seeking an adjournment to discuss the issue but Speaker Sumitra Mahajan disallowed it.
However, it remains to be seen if Opposition MPs allow the House to function today.
Monday saw the Congress party as well as the Left and the Trinamool Congress, walk out of Lok Sabha over claims that Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was asked not to attend an event where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the chief guest.
Besides the Kerala ‘insult’, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi spoke to reporters outside Parliament House, where he claimed that RSS workers stopped him from entering a monastery in Assam. He also touched upon the murder of a Dalit in Punjab, terming what he called the law and order failure in that state as ‘unacceptable’.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who made a statement on her visit to Pakistan last week, was barely audible in the din. She even slammed those on social media who questioned her wearing a green sari and speaking in Urdu.
Rajya Sabha saw Opposition MPs as well as those from the treasury benches, storm the Well of the House, countering each other over the murder of a Dalit man. Deputy chairman PJ Kurien termed the protests as “hijacking of the House” and had to repeatedly adjourn proceedings.
However, despite these continuous protests, Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu met with senior Congress MPs, hoping to end the impasse over the much-awaited GST Bill, but little emerged out of that meeting as Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge was not in New Delhi. The meeting will now take place on he’s back.
Meanwhile, sensing an opportunity amid the din in the House, the government tabled the SC/ST Bill urging the Opposition to discuss it if it were indeed serious about atrocities towards the Dalits.
“You are agitated about atrocities against Dalits. I request you to discuss the (SC/ST) Bill, then all of you can raise your concerns,” Naqvi said.
“We have condemned the Punjab incident in unequivocal terms and the state government has already instituted an inquiry into the incident in preparation for the strictest action possible. This is the place to legislate so let us make more stringent the law to punish whoever commits atrocities against Dalits.”
Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad responded, saying, “I promise you that the Bill will be passed in this session. We are extremely serious about it, it is our bill. But it cannot be passed in the din.”