Opposition leaders held a meeting to chalk out their strategy for the winter session of Parliament, which so far has been a non-starter due to protests by different parties in both Houses. There has been an Opposition consensus on four issues — farm woes, “assault’ on institutions like the CBI and RBI, jobs and price rise and Rafale. It was decided at the meeting that Opposition parties would hold protest meetings in the morning on these issues and give notices for discussion under various rules.
The parties, including Congress, Trinamool Congress, Left parties and SP, also agreed that while the Opposition wants both Houses to function, it is the government that is engineering disruptions.
Trinamool parliamentary party leader Derek O”Brien tweeted: “For the second day in a row, BJP ‘ally’ from Tamil Nadu disrupts proceedings in #Parliament. Government running away from discussions and answering hard questions #MatchFixing.”
Parliament could not function on the third day of the winter session on Thursday, with both the Houses being adjourned for the day following protests.
The protests began after both Houses paid their respects to those who died in the 2001 Parliament attack. Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with former PM Manmohan Singh, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi paid floral tributes. The event, organised in the Parliament complex, was attended by leaders from all parties.
In the Lok Sabha, AIADMK members tried to raise the issue of farmers in the Cauvery delta while Shiv Sena members protested on the Ram temple issue. The house was adjourned at 11.10 am for 10 minutes following protests by various parties that trooped into the well shouting slogans. It was adjourned again till noon when Opposition members did not pay heed to requests from Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to take their seats. As the Opposition continued its protest on issues ranging from Rafale to Ram temple, the Speaker adjourned the house for the day.
Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu has been apprised of the issues the Opposition wants raised, and according to sources, has agreed to allow one calling attention motion and one short duration discussion on each issue. That has been his position over the last three days, when throughout the disruptions he has told the House that he is willing to allow discussions but protests in the well have to stop. He did, however, disallow a flurry of notices under Rule 267 in the House offering the members who had submitted them some time instead to raise the issues.
Contrary to his usual practice of short adjournments, Naidu adjourned the House for the day at nine minutes past eleven. The reason for the unusually quick adjournment was, according to sources, Naidu’s reluctance to have unruly scenes in the House on the date several security personnel had died protecting Parliament.