The mounting tension in Belagavi, along Maharashtra-Karnataka border, echoed in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, with NCP member Supriya Sule accusing Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai of “making ad hoc statements” and “conspiring to break Maharashtra” and ruling BJP MPs from Karnataka taking objection to her remarks and pointing out that the matter is in Supreme Court.
Sule also sought the Union Home Ministry’s intervention in the issue. NCP members subsequently staged a walkout from Lok Sabha.
Barring minor disruptions, Lok Sabha ran smoothly on the first day of Winter Session.
Among others, Congress’s leader of House, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, and Trinamool Congress’s Sudip Bandyopadhyay flagged changes made in the composition of Parliamentary committees; Congress MP from Kerala Hibi Eden raised the issue of the four-month-long protest by fisherfolks against Vizhinjam sea port project in Kerala — the agitation was called off on Tuesday — and sought a Central package for their rehabilitation; and YSRCP’s Chinta Anuradha urged the Health Ministry to provide two-day menstrual leave for women to ensure a rise in women’s participation in workforce.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Sule said people of Maharashtra are getting “beaten up” in Belagavi border areas even though BJP governs both Karnataka and Maharashtra (in alliance with Eknath Shinde’s Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena). “There has been a conspiracy in the last 10 days to break Maharashtra. Both states are ruled by BJP…but the Karnataka CM keeps making statements against the Maharashtra CM. (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah should intervene in the matter.”
As BJP members from Karnataka rose in protest, Speaker Om Birla said it is a sensitive issue. BJP MP from Karnataka, S C Udasi, said the matter is with Supreme Court.
Joining the issue, Shiv Sena’s Vinayak Raut said, “The Karnataka government and police are doing injustice to the people of Maharashtra. I strongly condemn this kind of suppression…”
Earlier, Congress’s deputy leader in Lok Sabha, Suresh Kodikkunnil, had given a notice for an adjournment motion on the issue, saying the border dispute has triggered violent incidents and is becoming a law and order issue.
Earlier, when Zero Hour began, Congress leader of House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury stood up to flag the issue of what he called “consistent attempts to take away the rights of the Opposition.” Both Chowdhury and TMC’s Bandyopadhyay flagged changes made in the composition of House panels.
Chowdhury said: “The convention of appointing chairman of Parliamentary committees from opposition parties is being done away with. The IT panel chairmanship has been taken away from Congress; the TMC does not have any chairmanship. The practice and precedence say that the Opposition should get some positions.”
Bandyopadhyay said although TMC is one of the largest parties in the House, it was informed by the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry that it will not be given chairmanship of any committee.
Speaker Birla said members were questioning powers of the Chair, which can take such decisions. “You also have broken the practice,” he said.
The Congress and TMC had lost chairmanship of four key Parliamentary panels, including panels on Home Affairs and IT, and no longer head any major committee.
YSRCP’s Chinta Anuradha said: “Many women experience menstrual disorder and may even suffer from illness related to menstruation, including endometriosis and ovarian cysts, which can disrupt their everyday tasks and cause significant workplace stress, which has been a common ailment in today’s life due to many factors. In such a scenario, paid leaves in the form of menstrual leaves ensure that women have direct pathways to rest when they need it most, be more productive at work, and as a result find it easier to remain in the labour market.”
Raising the protest by fisherfolks in Vizhinjam, Congress’s Eden said the proposal for the international seaport was floated in 2015. “For the last 140 days the fishermen community in Vizhinjam has been on a huge agitation mainly because their lives and livelihood have been destroyed by the construction of the seaport by a construction company called Adani (Group),” Eden said.
He said the construction work had led to huge erosion on the northern side. “Three hundred families have been living in a cement godwon for the last four years,” the Congress MP said. ”
This community contributed their land years ago for development of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre. The church, the bishop’s house the cemetery were demolished for that. But the allegation the state government has been raising against these people — that they were against the development — is not right.”
Besides seeking a Central package for their rehabilitation, Eden also called for a scientific study on the impact of the port construction.