Treasury benches disrupt RS, opposition says government shying away from debate
New Delhi: Members from the treasury benches on Thursday disrupted the Rajya Sabha and forced an adjournment by shouting slogans and coming into the aisle as Congress MP P. Chidambaram stood up to speak on the Budget in the post-lunch sitting.
The opposition accused the government of running away from a debate on the Budget.
As soon as the House met at 2 p.m., the Chair called out Chidambaram's name who was scheduled to speak on the Union Budget. As Chidambaram, a former Finance Minister stood up to speak, some members from the treasury benches stood up and started making noise.
A minute later, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar walked into the House. Kumar, after taking his seat, was seen gesturing at the ruling party MPs all of whom then stood up and trooped into the aisle.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad told Ananth Kumar that it did not behove the treasury benches members to disturb the House.
"Mr Parliamentary Affairs Minister, with a great difficulty the Chairman and the opposition parties succeeded after a great deal of discussion since yesterday in deciding that this House should function. And this time not a single opposition member got up," Azad said.
"For the first time, the ruling party does not want to discuss the government business. This is a total failure of the government," he added.
Kumar replied that Azad's accusations were not right as the members (who were making noise) had "every right" to raise their issues.
"The Leader of Opposition is unnecessarily accusing that we do not want to run the House. We want to have a fruitful debate on the Budget. But if there are issues pertaining to the members, they have every right to raise their issues," Kumar said.
However, it soon became clear that the ruling party MPs were creating the ruckus on purpose.
"The Leader of Opposition should also advise his colleagues in Lok Sabha that when the Prime Minister was giving reply to President's address (on Wednesday), they did not allow the Prime Minister to speak. They should have advised Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge. They did not try to stop their members from protesting," Kumar said.
"They want to disturb the Prime Minister in Lok Sabha and want support of the House when they speak in Rajya Sabha," he added.
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien said that the BJP and the NDA members were disturbing the House as they "do not have facts to face the opposition".
"Come and debate with us," O'Brien said.
Kumar said that for disruption in the Lok Sabha during the Prime Minister's reply, the Congress should apologise to the Prime Minister and the nation.
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said that it was "most unfortunate" that the Parliamentary Affairs Minister was "inciting" the members of the treasury benches.
T.K. Rangarajan, who was presiding, adjourned the House for 10 minutes.