With the uproar by Congress members showing no signs of abating, the Rajya Sabha has been adjourned for the day. Opposition leaders protested the rejection of their notice in the upper house demanding an explanation and apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his “conspiracy with Pakistan” remark involving his predecessor Manmohan Singh.
Describing the comment “unfortunate”, Congress leaders told reporters outside the House it was “disappointing” that Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu did not allow a discussion on the notice.
Winter Session of Parliament, which began Friday, is likely to witness discussions on 25 pending and 14 new Bills that will be tabled by the government. These include significant legislation on instant triple talaq, GST, and the Insolvency Bill. At the customary all-party meeting a day earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought cooperation from Opposition members for a constructive session. He also put forward his suggestion for simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in order to maximise governance. The Winter Session, which generally begins in the third week of November, was delayed this year due to Gujarat and Himachal Assembly elections.
Below are the highlights from the Parliament Winter Session
3.00 pm: With the uproar by Congress showing no signs of abating, the Rajya Sabha has been adjourned for the day.
2.50 pm: Meanwhile, the Union cabinet has cleared the bill to make instant triple talaq illegal, according to news agency ANI.
2.45 pm: Rajya Sabha adjourned till 3 pm.
2.42 pm: Opposition leaders continue sloganeering against the government demanding an apology for the remarks against former prime minister Manmohan Singh in the well of the House.
2.40 pm: Vinay P. Sahasrabuddhe rises to introduce The Educational Innovations Commission Bill, 2017. V Vijaysai Reddy introduces The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (insertion of new article 21B), The Prevention of Enforced Disappearance Bill, 2017, The Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017. Sloganeering continues in the Upper House.
2.36 pm: Anand Sharma says “insidious references and accusations” were made against former prime minister Manmohan Singh. Deputy Chairman Kurien says this discussion cannot be allowed since it was the time for discussion on Private Members’ Business.
2.33 pm: Congress leader Anand Sharma asks if there is any specific time to raise a point of order. He also said Naresh Agarwal raised an important point.
2.31 pm: Point of order raised on Supreme Court-approved government proposal for setting up 12 special courts for trying pending criminal cases against 1,581 MPs and MLAs. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien says the matter cannot be raised during the point of order. MP Naresh Agarwal says the proposal sent a message to the country that “we are all criminals.”
2.30 pm: Rajya Sabha reconvenes.
1.00 pm: “Gave notice that today’s business be suspended and a big issue that is not just national but international, be discussed. Issue is the allegations made by PM against former PM, former VP, Former Army Chief and others of conspiring with Pakistan for Gujarat elections. Prime Minister must come to the house (Rajya Sabha) and give proof of what he said or he must apologize not only to the house but to the whole nation,” Azad said later.
12.30 pm: Ghulam Nabi Azad also raised the issue of PM Modi’s allegations against former PM Manmohan Singh and others of conspiring with Pakistan for Gujarat elections. “Yeh saadharan aarop nahi hai (These are not ordinary allegations)” Azad said.
12.05 pm: Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2.30 pm after sloganeering continues.
11.40 am: MPs take to the well of the House. Rajya Sabha adjourned till 12 pm.
11.38 am: Chairman Venkaiah Naidu says nothing should go on record except Ockhi discussion. Meanwhile, protests on Yadav’s disqualification continue. “You want to do this on the first day? You don’t want to listen to problems faced by people due to Ockhi?” Naidu says while sloganeering continues in Rajya Sabha.
11.37 am: Zero hour begins. Naidu allows discussion on the issue of Cyclone Ockhi. AIADMK MP Navaneethakrishnan begins speaking. He reiterates Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s request to declare Ockhi as a national disaster.
11.36 am: “I was present during the talks of the Grand Alliance. He (Sharad Yadav) was chosen as a part of the Grand Alliance. He cannot be disqualified,” Azad said.
11.33 am: Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad rises to talk on the disqualification of Sharad Yadav. Naidu says this is not a matter of discussion.
11.31 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduces the new Council of ministers.
11.22 am: Naidu brings up the disqualification of JDU leader Sharad Yadav from the Rajya Sabha and says it is final. Yadav, along with another MP Ali Anwar, was disqualified from the Rajya Sabha on December 4. “Chairman ke ruling pe koi charcha nahi hota hai,” Naidu said amid protests in the Upper House. Read more here.
11.15 am: House adjourned after the parliamentarians observed a moment of silence for the departed leaders. To reconvene on Monday December 18 at 11 am.
11.12 am: Obituary references made in the Lok Sabha:
— Sultan Ahmed (Sitting Member and Member Fifteenth, Lok Sabha)
— Chand Nath (Sitting Member)
— Tasleem Uddin (Sitting Member and Member, Ninth, Eleventh, Twelfth and Fourteenth Lok Sabhas)
— Vikram Mahajan (Member, Fourth, Fifth and Seventh Lok Sabhas)
— Ram Singh (Member, Ninth Lok Sabha)
— R. Keishing (Member, First and Third Lok Sabhas)
— Shri P.C. Barman (Member, Third Lok Sabha)
— Dhanraj Singh (Member, Ninth Lok Sabha)
— Shri Amal Datta (Member, Seventh to Tenth Lok Sabhas)
— Shri Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi (Member, Fifth, Eighth, Eleventh,Thirteenth and Fourteenth Lok Sabhas)
11.07 am: In the Rajya Sabha, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu makes obituary references to the deceased parliamentarians. This is the first time Naidu is addressing the Upper House after becoming the Vice President.
11.06 am: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan announces the names of parliamentarians who passed away during the inter-session period. Read more here.
11.04 am: Winter Session begins.
10.53 am: “We are always in favour of constructive suggestion, we are very much interested to run Parliament & issues to be discussed, provided the Govt should take interest and create such an atmosphere which is conducive for discussion. They should respect the opposition,” Mallikarjun Kharge said on Winter Session.
10.35 am: “At yesterday’s all-party meeting, we all were clear that we need to take the country ahead and this session should be used positively to achieve that,” PM Modi said.
10.30 am: “We look forward to having a fruitful session, hope to see positive approach this Winter Session. Democracy will surely strengthen,” PM Modi said ahead of the Winter Session. “I hope there is constructive debate and we come up with innovative solutions to our nation’s problems.”
10.15 am: For the first time since 2007, Parliament was not in session on December 13, the date when it was attacked and 14 people, mostly from the security forces, were killed. On the day, the remembrance ceremony usually happens with a lot of ardour.
10.05 am: Here’s some interesting trivia. Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien wore a full-sleeved shirt for Thursday’s meeting at Parliament House. One of the Opposition leaders was heard telling him that it is Delhi and not Kolkata and the MP should be donning some winterwear! Read more about it here.
10.00 am: “For the first time a Prime Minister has accused former PM, former vice-president and diplomats of conspiring with Pakistan for Gujarat elections. PM must clarify in the Parliament,” Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said ahead of the session, reported ANI.
9.45 am: Cabinet meeting to take place at 1 pm in Parliament, reports ANI.
9.30 am: Congress leaders are expected to protest PM Narendra Modi’s remarks on former prime minister Manmohan Singh. During the campaign for Gujarat elections, Modi had alleged that Singh and other Congress leaders collaborated with Pakistan to influence the Gujarat polls. Congress’s deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma said, “Either the government prove the claim or the PM apologise. Nothing short of an apology will satisfy us.”
9.15 am: Lok Sabha will be adjourned today after tributes to Trinamool Congress MP Sultan Ahmed, BJP MP Chand Nath and RJD MP Mohammed Taslimuddin, who passed away during the inter-session period.
(With inputs from agencies)