The Rajya Sabha on Thursday saw statements on the Bhima Koregaon violence in Maharashtra which has widened the fissures in the Dalit-Maratha conflict during the Zero Hour. Parliamentarians in the Upper House strongly condemned the violence with many Opposition leaders demanding a judicial inquiry into the issue.
The Rajya Sabha was adjourned on Wednesday after Opposition demanded the draft regulation of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 be referred to a select committee. The Bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha through a voice vote last week, is likely to be taken for discussion in Rajya Sabha today.
The Lok Sabha, on the other hand, was adjourned for the day after the Opposition and the government sparred over The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Third Amendment) Bill, 2017 which seeks to grant the National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC) constitutional status, at par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. The matter is likely to be taken up today as well.
Parliament LIVE updates:
6.40 pm: Reacting to the remarks, Union Minister Smriti Irani said, “Opposition stands exposed in RS. For the past 2 days, repeatedly it has been said that if there are any issues need to be spoken on triple talaq bill, those issues need to be put out on the floor of the House. Why is Congress-led opposition running away from discussion?”
“Double standards of Congress-led opposition are exposed today and I think it is a shame on them that they are trying to obstruct this path of justice for Indian Muslim women: Union Minister Smriti Irani.
6.20 pm: Outside the Parliament, TMC MP Derek O’ Brien said the BJP had been exposed. “Today BJP has been exposed, they don’t have the guts to empower women,” he said. Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, “The government is isolated, the Opposition is one. The bill should be sent to the select committee.”
6.00 pm: Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day after continued uproar over triple talaq bill.
5.45 pm: There was a heated debate over the triple talaq bill in Rajya Sabha on Thursday. TMC MP Derek O Brien said ‘its clear that this side(opposition) wants to empower women, and you (government) stand exposed’. To this, Smriti Irani replied, “Absolutely not, if you seriously want to empower women then have a discussion now.”
5.00 pm: In the backdrop of disruptions in Rajya Sabha on various issues, its Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu held a meeting with members of various parties on the functioning of the House. The triple talaq bill was also discussed and Naidu asked both the opposition and the treasury benches to sort out the issue between them.
2.57 pm: Yadav mentioned the World Economic Forum data to assert the global confidence on Indian economy. “The reformative steps taken by the government in three years has resulted in the improvement of India’s Ease of Business rankings,” he said.
2.53 pm: BJP MP Bhupender Yadav rises to answer. He blames the UPA for high non-performance assets in the banking sector. Questions why the previous governments did not work on a regulation on insolvency. He said Uttar Pradesh elections were a proof that the people accepted the demonetisation move. Some MPs make claims on “EVMs.” “Arre EVM aapke paas bhi tha (You too had EVMs)” Yadav said.
2.50 pm: “Please throw some light on why the country’s debt in increasing,” Sharma continued. “Aapke karyakal mein kitne udyog toote hain uska dosh hamein na dein,” he said.
2.45 pm: Sharma questioned how government plans to revive the economy and address the deficit.
2.40 pm: Meanwhile in Lok Sabha, discussions on The High Court and the Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill begins.
2.37 pm: “I have one request to make. Or a demand. Let the Finance Minister today agree that the GDP numbers as per the old series and news series be released tomorrow. Let the country know the truth,” Sharma said. “This year we have grown after five quarters of consecutive fall,” he added.
2.35 pm: Sharma added that GST hurt the economy even further. “We will present the figures today how these decisions affected the businesses. We would want the government to share figures with us as well,” he said. He cited China’s growth figures and questioned the claims on India being the fastest growing economy.
2.30 pm: “Why hasn’t the Prime Minister or this government released details on the claims made on demonetisation?” Sharmed asked. He also asked why figures on black money were not revealed. “For the first time, an Indian PM said in front of the entire world that the economy of a country runs on black money,” the Congress leader said adding that over 99 per cent of the currency returned to RBI, questioning the government’s claims on black money.
2.21 pm: Congress leader Anand Sharma initiates short duration discussion on state of Indian economy.
2.20 am: Rajya Sabha reconvenes at 2pm. Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien begins proceedings.
1.30 pm: Lok Sabha adjourned till 2.30 pm.
1.27 pm: M Veerappa Moily raises the issue of shifting of a CRPF base out of Karnataka to Uttar Pradesh.
12.58 pm: House adjourned till 2 pm.
12.57 pm: Rajya Sabha Question Hour over.
12.55 pm: While questions on child sexual abuse in Rajya Sabha, DMK MP Kanimozhi questions if there are any provisions for identifying sexual abuse offenders as they might work with children in different states in the future. The minister said it was a good suggestion and the government would look into it.
12.50 pm: Government has tabled demand for additional grants of Rs.80,000 crore for bank recapitalisation in Lok Sabha. The recapitalisation move of state banks is seen as part of a move to help lenders deal with bad debts and revive credit growth. In October 2016, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the plan to recapitalise banks through recapitalisation bonds and from share sale by state-run banks.
12.30 pm: In Rajya Sabha, questions raised on persons with disabilities and if there is a need for their Aadhaar identification since their fingerprints are almost always mismatched. MoS Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal said the government has introduced a Universal ID card for persons with disabilities. MoS Hardeep Singh Puri also talks on the issue of DDA demolition of hostel for blind people.
12.28 pm: In matters of urgent public importance, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge talks about prices of crude oil and petrol falling sharply in the international market.
12.17 pm: Home Minister Rajnath Singh addresses the NRC matter in Assam in Lok Sabha. “Supreme Court has said that there is no need for fear if a person’s name does not appear in the first draft. These are baseless allegations,” Singh said in response to claims made by Opposition leaders that the move was a way to drive out a certain section of population from the state.
TMC MP Saugata Roy said the first draft of the NRC in Assam is a conspiracy to drive out Bengalis from Assam.
12.13 pm: Consideration of the Rajya Sabha amendment on Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Amendment Bill begins.
12.05 am: Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar answers questions on education sector. When questioned on the dropout rate by Chhaya Verma, Javadekar said one of the reasons was lack of toilets. “We constructed more toilets. Another reason was due to lack of quality training,” he said.
11.50 am: Question Hour continues in Lok Sabha. Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raja answers questions on Air Taxi Service around Delhi-NCR.
11.43 am: Rajya Sabha MP Tiruchi Siva raised the issue of ban on fireworks. “Pollution is not because of fireworks only,” he said adding that there are issues like stubble burning, vehicular emissions etc. “Delhi celebrated Diwali without firecrackers. Yet it was heavily polluted,” he said.
The DMK MP also said that the economic aspect of it should also be kept in the mind since it concerns the livelihood of many people.
“In America and other countries, there are electronic fireworks,” Venkaiah Naidu added.
11.37 am: West Bengal MP Ritabrata Banerjee said the Centre should consider renaming West Bengal as Bangla. A resolution in the matter was already passed in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly, he said.
11.33 am: In context of Maharashtra violence, BJP MP Amar Shankar Sable said Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid made incendiary statements. “The Congress tries to connect every Dalit atrocity with Sangh. This too should be condemned like attacks against Dalits,” he said amid protests in the House.
11.28 am: Union Minister of State Social Justice Ramdas Athawale said, “We should not look at Dalit atrocities from a political lens.” He also said attacks against Dalits have happened under Congress as well. “We should focus on the issue, rather than politicising it,” he said.
11.25 am: CPI MP D Raja has given a notice on increasing atrocities against Dalits. While speaking on Maharashtra violence, he said he strongly condemns attack against Dalits. “Dalit assertion must be understood in correct historical perspective. In Maharashtra, Dalit assertion is being undermined as something triggered by Left-Wing Extremism and Breaking India Brigade.” Raja’s comments pointed towards the RSS spokesperson Manmohan Vaidya’s statement in which he blamed the Breaking India Brigade for Maharashtra violence. Read more here.
11.23 am: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the statement government was efficient in de-escalating the situation. “A lot of people who do not have much knowledge on the issue are talking a lot about it.. People are blaming Hindutva for it. There is no connection. I was there, I have seen it. Peshwas are not connected to the RSS.” Raut also said state government should pay attention towards the issue and save the state from the conflict which could affect its economic stability.
11.21 am: DMK MP M Kanimozhi demands judicial inquiry on Maharashtra violence. “Whatever has happened cannot be looked as an isolated incident. We have to look for a long term solution. The Dalits, minorities, and women are living in fear,” she said.
11.16 am: Rajya Sabha MP and veteran politician Sharad Pawar rises to speak on the Bhima Koregaon violence issue. Stresses on the need to resolve the Dalit-Maratha conflict in the state. He also elaborates on the Bhima Koregaon history and says that though Dalits have been paying tributes for 50 years, there was never a conflict. This time, however, two groups tried to ruin the memorial last year which led to conflict.
11.15 am: BSP MP Veer Singh too demands justice on the violence against Dalits in Maharashtra.
11.14 am: Meanwhile in Rajya Sabha, CPI(M) MP from Tamil Nadu TK Rangarajan demands judicial inquiry with sitting Supreme Court judge on Maharashtra violence alleging tactical support of the government. “Dalits are attacked in my state as well,” he said. Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu says the issue shouldn’t be generalised.
11.12 am: Another BJD MP Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo raises to question the government on the tribunal issue. “We have gone to the government many times. The government has not solved the problem,” Deo claimed.
11.10 am: “The government has solved such disputes in Maharashtra and Gujarat and the Ken-Betwa dispute. We can resolve this as well,” he said. “Come to us, if we cannot resolve it, you have the right to go to tribunal or Supreme Court,” Gadkari said adding that the tribunals often take years to solve such disputes.
11.06 am: In response to BJD MP Nagendra Kumar Pradhan’s query, Gadkari invites him for a dialogue on sharing of water and assures there will be no injustice. “We demand a tribunal to sort out a difference between Chhattisgarh and Odisha,” he said.
11.04 am: Papers being laid out in Rajya Sabha as well.
11.00 am: Lok Sabha Question Hour begins. Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari talks on the construction of barrages across Mahanadi River.
10.50 am: Lok Sabha proceedings to begin shortly. This will be the 12th working day of the session which ends on January 5.
10.40 am: TMC leaders are also protesting in front of Gandhi statue in Parliament over NRC (National Register of Citizens) issue in Assam.
10.30 am: Meanwhile, BJP leaders staged protest in front of Gandhi statue in Parliament against murder of party worker Deepak Rao in Karnataka’s Mangalore. News agency ANI reported they demanded the case to be transferred to CBI.
9.45 am: Bills listed for consideration and passing today —
— Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016
— High Court and The Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2017
— Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-third Amendment) Bill, 2017
— Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017
— Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2017
— National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017
Bills for Consideration and Passing
— Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill, 2017
— Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017
— Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013
— Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017
— State Banks (Repeal and Amendment) Bill, 2017
— Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016
9.40 am: As Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad began, “Mahilaon ki izzat, khwateinon ki…” his voice was soon drowned. At one point he accused the Opposition of deliberately blocking the bill. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Opposition is keen that a good bill is passed, but the BJP’s anti-Dalit stance had to be highlighted.
9.30 am: It was a full House on Wednesday in Rajya Sabha thanks to a BJP whip and the Opposition’s determination to see a vote through — the plan was to ensure a headcount 25 more than on the Treasury benches.