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Thursday, January 27, 2022

LS adjourned over protest by few, Oppn asks if govt willing to run House

🔴 Some ruling party members were also surprised at the alacrity with which the Lower House was adjourned.

Written by Liz Mathew , Krishn Kaushik | New Delhi |
Updated: November 30, 2021 11:39:17 pm
Parliamentarians in Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament. (LSTV/PTI)

Proceedings of the Lok Sabha were adjourned on Tuesday over vociferous protests from a handful of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MPs, even as most of the Opposition members were in their seats, raising doubts among the Opposition, and even some ruling party MPs, about the government’s interests in running Parliament in the Winter Session.

On Tuesday, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju introduced the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2021.

Proceedings were adjourned on Monday after the farm laws repeal Bill was passed, ignoring Opposition’s demands for a debate, and the Lower House did not transact any major legislative business on Tuesday, too.

Explained

Proceeding worries among Opp

The abrupt adjournments in Lok Sabha despite a relatively calm Opposition in the House have triggered apprehension among opposition leaders that the government is not in a mood for a smooth winter session. In the last sessions too, durations were cut short after Bills listed were passed, although without any detailed discussions.

Members of the TRS were the only ones in the well of the House, protesting with placards, seeking a uniform procurement policy, legal support to crop MSP, and compensation for farmers who had died during the agitation after the farm laws were passed.

Trinamool Congress MPs, who had come to the well seeking a debate on the first day, were seated, while some Congress, DMK, NCP and Left members stood urging the Chair to allow a debate on farmer-related issues. After a few minutes of protests, the Opposition, barring TMC members, staged a walkout, leaving just six TRS members raising slogans.

Expressing surprise at the abrupt adjournment, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor told The Indian Express: “Given that there were days when 60 (Opposition) MPs protested (and yet) the government persisted in wrapping up Bills in the House, it seemed odd what they did today. The Congress intended to cooperate with functioning of the House after the morning boycott of Question Hour. We were surprised that the usual one-hour break became longer until 2 pm. and the rapidity with which it was adjourned again.

“This would make sense if the government were actively searching for a way out of the crisis created by suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs for something that occurred in the previous session.”

Tharoor also said, “The government seems to have chosen a path of confrontation in Rajya Sabha and inaction in Lok Sabha. Only the government can explain why it is behaving (this way).”

Congress sources said the party had decided extensive disruptions were not in its interests and members could take part in discussion on Bills and issues to “expose” the government.

Outside the House, a senior BJP MP admitted that Tuesday’s developments will “give an impression that the treasury benches were not ready to run the house.”

The BJP MP said, “Adjourning (the House) when the entire Opposition is disrupting proceedings (is understandable). But today, most of them were seated.”

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “In the informal meeting with the Speaker, the Opposition agreed and we were prepared for a discussion on The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill. We had assigned Karti Chidambaram to initiate the debate and he was prepared.”

Earlier in the day, a new member, Kalaben Mohanbhai Delkar from Dadra and Nagar Haveli, took oath.

As Speaker Om Birla called for Question Hour and BJP’s Pushpendra Singh Chandel was asking questions, Congress, DMK, NCP and Left MPs asked why the government was not willing to debate farmers’ issues. Birla told them, “You should maintain dignity of the House…Question Hour should take place.”

He then adjourned proceedings until 2 pm.

Congress and Shiv Sena members had given adjournment motion notices demanding a discussion on rising fuel prices, but the Speaker disallowed all adjournment motions.

DMK’s Andimuthu Raja, who was in the Chair, said Birla had received adjournment motion notices but “he has disallowed all (such) notices”.

Back in Chair, Birla gave Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury the opportunity to speak, and the Congress leader accused the government of creating obstruction for the House to function. “We also want the House should run, cooperate with you.”

Chowdhury said. “We don’t come to the House to snack, or to picnic, but to discuss, to raise issues of the people. But…if government doesn’t want (the House to function), what can we do?

“We wanted to have discussions on farm laws, MSP, but the government didn’t allow. The fault is not ours but the government’s.”

He was then cut short.

TMC’s Kalyan Banerjee also tried to raise a similar point but the Speaker moved to papers laid in the House.

Birla again requested the protesting TRS MPs to return to their seats so that discussions on “important bills” could continue. With the protesting MPs not returning, even as other Opposition MPs were seated, the House was adjourned for the day.

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