Though everything about the passage of the governments financial business in the Rajya Sabha was pre-planned,the House witnessed commotion, disorder and sparring,thanks to Deputy Chairman P J Kurien. In the end though,the Finance Bill was passed.
It all started when Kurien asked Railway Minister P K Bansal to introduce the railway appropriation Bill and proceeded for its clause-by-clause consideration. But BJPs Deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad was on his feet arguing that it was against the understanding reached earlier. The Upper House was to follow the Lok Sabha script: A brief speech by the Opposition leader and walkout by the Opposition members was to precede the start of any financial business.
A verbal duel between the BJP and the Chair ensued. Kurien said he had not taken up the Finance Bill and that Arun Jaitley,Opposition leader,will speak before the Bill is taken up. Prasad argued that Jaitley will speak first before any financial business is taken up. The BJP members were to walkout after that. But the arguments went for several minutes,taking by surprise even the UPA ministers.
Finally,Finance Minister P Chidambaram intervened and urged the Chair to allow Jaitley to speak. Kurien relented and asked Chidambaram to move the Finance Bill so that Jaitley could speak.
However,another round of sparring began when Kurien called V Maitreyan of AIADMK to speak.
An enraged Tiruchi Shiva of DMK said the Chair cannot break the order as DMK has more members than the AIADMK. Kurien didnt budge and,to everyones surprise,the arguments went on for almost 30 minutes. Later,some UPA members went up to Shiva,pacified him,and he agreed.
In his speech,Jaitley slammed the governments foreign policy on Sarabjit Singh and the Chinese incursion. he blamed it for subverting institutions like the CBI and the JPC. You may have some security options,diplomatic options. We will be one with the government in those options,but being clueless is not an option, he said.
Jaitley also targeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the CBI coal report. He said the PM was the coal minister when the allocation took place. Before walking out,he said,This is the first time that an investigation agency has shared its report with suspects,some of whom may be possible accused. The Left parties,Trinamool Congress,AIADMK,JD(U),DMK,BJD and Shiv Sena members too walked out.