For the second day, Parliament was unable to function as the Opposition, rejecting the government’s offer of a debate, forced repeated adjournments demanding the removal first of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The Rajya Sabha failed to transact any business for the second straight day. Meeting on its first working day this session, the Lok Sabha too was paralysed as Congress and Left members kept entering the well with placards despite Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s warning of disciplinary action. Both Houses adjourned for the day after 2 pm.
Black bands on their arms, Congress members waved placards that read “Bade Modi meherban to chhote Modi pehelwan” (a reference to the Prime Minister and former IPL chief Lalit Modi) and “Modiji 56 inch dikhao, Sushma, Raje ko turant hatao” (Show your might by removing Swaraj and Raje). While leaders including Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Ashok Chavan and K C Venugopal and K V Thomas were spotted with black bands, Gaurav Gogoi, Sushmita Deb and Rajiv Satav marched to the well with placards.
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TRS members contributed to the uproar by raising the demand for a separate high court for Telangana.
The Speaker, who adjourned the proceedings after eight minutes, read out her observation when the House met at noon: “In the event of disorderly conduct, I would be constrained to initiate appropriate disciplinary action against erring members.” It provoked Opposition members who rushed to the well again. The CPM’s Mohammed Salim and M B Rajesh kept protesting even as the Speaker read out her observations. Scindia was seen directing some MPs to go to the treasury side of the well and they did so, led by Ranjeeta Ranjan. This forced the Speaker to adjourn the House for two hours. The House saw similar scenes when it met at 2 pm. Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai adjourned the House for the day.
In the Rajya Sabha, the BSP’s Satish Chandra Misra, the SP’s Naresh Agarwal, the CPM’s Tapan Kumar Sen and the CPI’s D Raja said they had given notices under Rule 267 to suspend business to take up discussion on the Lalit Modi and Vyapam controversies.
Leader of the House Arun Jaitley asked the Opposition to specify the provision of law Swaraj had violated in allegedly trying to help Lalit Modi. Insisting on a discussion, he referred to allegations of financial irregularities against Congress chief ministers in Himachal, Puducherry and Kerala. When Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad proposed that some members who had given adjournment notices be allowed to speak, Jaitley questioned if such a practice could be allowed everyday.
The BSP’s Mayawati targeted the Prime Minister, saying the controversies had exposed those who had claimed “Na khaoonga, na khane doonga”. The JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav said ministers whose names have come up in the controversies should resign. He recalled how he and BJP leader L K Advani had resigned after their names had come up in the Jain hawala case in the 1990s, until their names were cleared.
Rajiv Shukla of the Congress, the current IPL chairman, said the Lalit Modi issue was serious and the ministers should resign.
On the Vyapam scam, Jaitley said it was “squarely a state issue” and if the Opposition wanted to change the rule to “discuss state issues and set new precedents”, then issues relating to Kerala, Himachal and Assam should also be discussed. “So we will be fair to all states… If they want to discuss the issue relating to Sushma Swaraj, please start the discussion right now,” he said.
The CPM’s Sitaram Yechury said the Vyapam issue was not just restricted to one state as people linked to it had died even outside Madhya Pradesh under mysterious circumstances. The verbal duel continued, leading to a series of adjournments.