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Day 4: Arunachal issue disrupts Parl

In Lok Sabha, Congress MPs, led by Sonia Gandhi, staged a walkout, protesting against not being allowed to have their say on the issue. Whereas, in Rajya Sabha, the Opposition demanded the recall of Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa, forcing three adjournments as Trinamool Congress (TNC) and Samajwadi Party (SP) staged a walkout over the issue.

“Stop partiality”, agitated Congress members chanted as they left Lok Sabha, with party leader Mallikarjun Kharge announcing boycott of the proceedings for the day. JD(U) and NCP also joined the walkout.

Gandhi was herself in the Well for a while, along with Kharge, who pleaded with Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to allow him to have his say, claiming that the developments in Arunachal portended danger for democracy. The Speaker remained unmoved.

During the Question Hour as also during the Zero Hour, Congress members stormed the Well demanding recall of the Arunachal Pradesh Governor, shouting “stop dictatorship” and “dismiss the governor”.

In the question hour, when the Speaker disallowed notices of adjournment motion moved by some Congress members on certain actions of the Arunachal Pradesh Governor, Kharge said a “new turn” has taken place following the verdict of the Gauhati high court.

The Speaker made it clear that no reference to the high court can be made in the House and that the Arunachal issue has already been raised. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu also urged the Chair to delete the reference made to the high court. “You raise slogans every day. Government can’t take decisions and House cannot run like this,” she observed. Apparently referring to Congress, she said: “with years of rule and presence in the House, you have experience ...proceedings will take place as per rules and procedures”.

At one point, exasperated by protests, the Speaker directed her officials to note down the names of Congress members standing in the Well raising slogans against the government. 

After Congress members staged a walkout, MoS for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy disapproved of their action to first disrupt the Question Hour by storming the Well and seeking to have their say in the Zero Hour. He said the government was ready to discuss any issue and was confident to satisfy the Opposition, but the tactics adopted by it were not acceptable. 

Later, AIADMK member P Kumar raised the issue regarding the constitutionality of the Arunchal Governor’s action, Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai, who was in the Chair, said this cannot be raised during the Zero Hour and his intervention cannot go on record.

Similar scenes were seen in the Upper House too. Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said he has given a notice for adjournment of business to discuss the Arunachal Pradesh issue, saying that the Centre was responsible for the stalemate in Parliament for several days.

The Governor, he claimed, called a session of the Assembly without the consent or recommendation of the Cabinet and Chief Minister, set the agenda, decided on the seating arrangement, set the priority of items to be taken up, including removal and its reporting to him.

This is “unprecedented” in the Indian history as neither the President of India nor any Governor had called a session of Parliament or Assembly without the Cabinet approval, he said. “No President or Governor gave directions as to who will sit on Chair, what item will be taken up, who will be removed,” Azad said. The Opposition members charged the Governor with “unconstitutional” conduct after the Gauhati high court put on hold all his decisions, including move to advance the Winter session of the Assembly by a month. 

Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien tried to conduct business, calling MPs to make Zero Hour submissions but protests drowned what the members said.

With members refusing to heed to his pleas, he adjourned the House till 1200 hours. When the House met again, members of TMC and SP staged a walkout, while Congress members strooped into the Well of the House. Expressing solidarity, members from AIADMK, CPI-M, and JD(U) were also seen protesting demanding “recall Governor”. “We are doing a protest walkout,” said Sukhendu Sekhar Roy of TMC. The Constitution has been “shredded to pieces,” Azad said.

Law and order is a state subject and the state government requisitions paramilitary as well as Army when situation so demands. But never is a requisition of paramilitary or army done by a Governor when an elected government is in office, the Leader of Opposition said.

Meanwhile, JD(U) leader KC Tyagi said did MLAs from BJP and Congress rebel faction in Arunachal Pradesh meet in a ‘dance bar’ to remove Nabam Tuki as chief minister? Tyagi said when Congress was pressing for adjournment of business to take up discussion on the crisis in the state during the pre-noon session. “Dance bar was the venue of meeting of MLAs yesterday,” he said, and asked, “How can you hold meeting in a restaurant?”

Opposition BJP and rebel Congress MLAs had got together in a hotel in Itanagar to “vote out” the Nabam Tuki-led Congress government and to elect a rebel Congress MLA as the new chief minister. 
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