The government on Tuesday agreed to the Opposition’s demand for a discussion on the Delhi riots in Rajya Sabha. The House, however, had to be adjourned with the Opposition insisting on having the discussion on priority.
Leader of the House and Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot assured the Opposition of a discussion right after Rajya Sabha proceedings resumed at 2 pm. Earlier, the House was adjourned once after Opposition MPs demanded action against Union Minister Anurag Thakur for his alleged hate speech.
“There is peace in Delhi for the last four days. The Opposition wants a discussion on this topic. The government is ready. Whenever the Chairman decides, we can discuss that day,” Gehlot said in the afternoon after Opposition MPs did not let the House to take up the discussion on the Central Sanskrit Universities Bill.
Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad pressed for a discussion on priority. The House was adjourned for the second time as interruptions continued while Azad was speaking. Thereafter Azad and Gehlot went to the Chairman’s room for a meeting.
When the House resumed at 3 pm, Deputy Chairman Harivansh defended his decision to adjourn the House while Azad was speaking. “This House has had a very old and a very proud tradition that when the Leaders of the House and the Opposition speak, no one interrupts them. You can check the record to see that when Azad was speaking there was noise. We are discussing a very important issue… I request him (Azad) to finish what he was saying,” he said. Azad then appealed to the Chair and the government to discuss the Delhi riots before taking up any other business. “This is being discussed across the world. If we shy away from a discussion in India, then it will seem strange. The world will say that they are willing to talk about it but not the Indian Parliament,” Azad said. “We are already late in discussing this issue. We should have done this the first thing yesterday. If we come to it a week later, then it will be a non-issue…We shouldn’t run away from our responsibility,” he said.
To this, Gehlot said the government is aware of its responsibility and is ready for the discussion on a day decided by the Chairman.
But as Harivansh tried to take up the discussion on the Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, Congress MP Anand Sharma objected and said the Delhi riots should be the House’s priority.
BJP MP Bhupendra Yadav intervened to point out that under Rule 258, the ruling of the Chair is final and that the Opposition should not force the Chair’s hand. However, K Keshava Rao of TRS agreed with the Congress and requested the Deputy Chairman to adjourn the House till Wednesday. “So that the message goes that our first concern is the people of Delhi,” he said. The House was then adjourned till Wednesday.
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