Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned without transacting much business on the second day of Winter Session Wednesday even as members belonging to the Congress, AIADMK, Shiv Sena and the Telugu Desam came into the Well, waved placards, shouted slogans and paralysed proceedings.
In Lok Sabha, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House when she was unable to take up the Question Hour due to the din created by the protesting members. She called it a day later when the House, meeting again at noon, was unable to function.
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu adjourned the Rajya Sabha twice in the pre-lunch period, and then for the day around 2.15 pm after members of two Tamil Nadu parties — AIADMK and DMK — staged protests on the Cauvery issue.
Both Houses were adjourned on Tuesday after paying tributes to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former Union minister Ananth Kumar.
Jamming session with eye on elections
The last full session of Parliament before next year’s General Election may turn out to be a platform for parties to send political signals with an eye on their support base. The electoral setbacks for the BJP in a clutch of Assembly elections seem to have emboldened the Congress to sharpen its attack on the ruling party to build up an electoral pitch. Disruptions caused by other regional parties indicated their positioning vis-a-vis their support base, or send potential cues of their political alignment for 2019.
In Rajya Sabha, the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities (Amendment) Bill was passed amid slogan-shouting by Opposition members.
In Lok Sabha, Opposition members parked themselves in the Well even before the day’s proceedings began. Congress members carried placards that stated, “Yeh sarkar suit-boot ki, jumla, jhansa, Rafale loot ki (this is a suited-booted government, all about fraud and Rafale loot).”
Shiv Sena MPs held placards that read, “Har Hindu ki yehi pukar, pehle mandir phir sarkar (every Hindu calls for Ram temple first, government later).”
AIADMK members were seeking “justice” for Tamil Nadu farmers living along the Cauvery delta, and Telugu Desam members demanded a special package and a Railway zone at Visakhapatnam.
The Rajya Sabha was first adjourned until noon soon after papers were laid, and then again until 2 pm soon after Question Hour started at noon. After ministers laid listed papers on the table of the House, AIADMK members trooped into the Well. Naidu appealed to them to return to their seats, and said that Assembly election results in five states had been declared only a day before, and people in those states had shown confidence in democracy. As members persisted with their protest, Naidu adjourned the House until noon.
When the House met at noon, AIADMK members came into the Well again and began protests, carrying placards. Naidu said, “If the House wants to function and discuss issues of public interest, we will do it.”
The protests continued when the House met afresh at 2 pm. The House passed The National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities (Amendment) Bill, 2018. The proposed amendments stipulate a fixed term for the chairperson of the National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism and other Disabilities. Moving the Bill, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot said a chairperson could not be appointed, even after several attempts since 2012, as a suitable candidate meeting the stringent selection criteria could not be found.