Opp, BJP spar on Gujarat Cong MLA's abduction; RS adjourned
The Rajya Sabha proceedings were washed out on Friday amid ruckus as Congress members indulged in vociferous sloganeering through the day to protest the alleged abduction of their MLA by policemen in Gujarat and their BJP MPs charging them with defaming the state.
The House witnessed repeated adjournments right from the word go, as noisy scenes over the issue disrupted the Question Hour, the Zero Hour and later the private members' and official legislative business.
When the House met at 2.30 pm after four adjournments in the pre-lunch session, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi demanded that the Opposition should tender an apology to Gujarat for tarnishing its image.
The Congress MPs were alleging that the Gujarat policemen had abducted its MLA in the state with a view to influence the upcoming elections to the Upper House.
"This morning during the Zero Hour and Question Hour, Leader of the Opposition (Ghulam Nabi Azad) and Anand Sharma had made objectionable statements to defame Gujarat. They said Gujarat which was earlier a safe haven for state encounters has witnessed kidnapping of an MLA for stealing of votes. The Leader of the Opposition, Chief Whip (in Gujarat) ... have deserted the (Congress) party, MLAs are quitting...," Naqvi said asking the opposition to apologise to Gujarat.
Asking the Congress members to indulge in "self introspection", he said despite getting (politically) battered, the party has not realised the gravity (Inka band- baaja baj chuka hai, aur uske baad bhi inko ehsaas nahin hai).
As BJP members were on their feet and raised slogans like 'shame-shame' to taunt the Congress, Naqvi said the people of Gujarat have been "deeply hurt by this conspiracy" and the Congress should apologise to them. He also claimed that the Gujarat elections will be held in a fair and free atmosphere.
The Congress members trooped into the Well raising slogans like "stop murder of democracy".
In a bid to run the House, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked the Congress members whether they wanted to apologise for "what you said in the morning". However, he did not get any response from them.
Kurien also asked the ruling party members to help in running the House.
Irked at not getting any response from either side, Kurien repeatedly warned that he would be forced to adjourn the House. "Both sides are not cooperating. Both sides are shouting. They are creating problems...I will have to adjourn the House. This is the time for Private Members' business and if the members do not cooperate, I will be forced to adjourn."
"I am helpless," the Deputy Chairman said before adjourning the House for the day.
Congress members had earlier repeatedly trooped into the Well raising anti-government slogans and charging the BJP with "stealing" MLAs to help its candidates win the Rajya Sabha polls, forcing brief adjournments one after the other.
The House was adjourned twice during Zero Hour after it had assembled for the day and then twice again during the Question Hour till 2.30 PM.
Soon after the House assembled, Kurien first adjourned the proceedings for 10 minutes as Congress leaders, including Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress' deputy leader Anand Sharma, raised the issue and the party members stormed the Well raising slogans.
Similar scenes were witnessed when the House met again, forcing Kurien to adjourn the proceedings till noon. A repeat of the protests saw Chairman Hamid Ansari to adjourn the House for 15 minutes after it reassembled.