Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s rejection of demands for an adjournment motion to discuss the demonetisation issue stalled proceedings of Parliament’s lower house for the second day on Friday. The Speaker as well as the government insisted that the issue can be discussed under the rule that does not entail a vote on the debate.
The rejection united the opposition as the Congress and the Left MPs formed a group and raised slogans. The BJP members tried to highlight Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s alleged “anti-national” statement to counter the opposition.
Earlier, Congress’s Mallikarjun Kharge demanded the adjournment motion to discuss the issue. But Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar rejected the demand, provoking slogan-shouting opposition lawmakers to storm the Well of the House. The ruckus forced adjournment of the proceedings within 8 minutes.
The Speaker rejected the demand again when the House reconvened. She said that the issue was important, but added that it can be discussed under other rules too. Kumar reiterated that that the House could take up the debate under Rule 193, which does not allow voting.
BJP lawmaker Meenakshi Lekhi cited Azad’s remarks amid the chaos. She was asked not to raise the issue without giving a notice while her party colleague, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, echoed her. Kumar announced that the government was ready to hold a discussion while Kharge was protesting references to Azad. “If they want to start it today afternoon… If they want to start it on Monday, we are ready for that also,’’ he said. “Let them convert this debate into a discussion under Rule 193.’’ Kharge reiterated his demand saying they were ready to discuss the issue right away. Kumar then pointed out that it was for the Speaker to decide. “We are ready for discussion and under what rule it should be taken up is your (Speaker)’s decision. We are suggesting that there should be a discussion under Rule 193.’’
Trinamool Congress’s Sudip Bandyopadhyay backed Kharge before the house was adjourned again.