Uttarakhand issue derails RS proceedings again
As the Upper House met for the day, five new members – including Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Swapan Dasgupta and Subramanian Swamy, Olympic medalist boxer MC Mary Kom and Narendra Jadhav, member of erstwhile National Advisory Council (NAC) took oath. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was also present, greeted them.
However soon after the oath, Congress members trooped into the Well of the House and shouted slogans, after the government rejected their demand for a discussion on a motion on dismissal of the Harish Rawat-led government in Uttarakhand.
The ruckus led to repeated adjournments of the House and it was finally adjourned for the day just minutes after 3 pm.
Earlier, Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said no discussion other than on the proclamation of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand could take place. The Minister said discussion would take place when the proclamation for President’s Rule was placed before the House. “There is no procedure of having pre-proclamation discussion,” he said.
Justifying the imposition of Central rule in the state, Jaitley said the “real breakdown of constitutional machinery” happened in Uttarakhand when the presiding officer (Speaker) “ignored” the vote of 35 out of 67 members against the Appropriation Bill to declare it passed.
After Jaitley said no discussion can take place, Congress members raised anti-government slogans “Modi teri taanashahi nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi (dictatorship of Narendra Modi will not be tolerated),” forcing the House to adjourn till 1200 hours.
Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien’s pleading that the Chair was in favour of a discussion and the protestors should allow the House to function went unheeded.
Congress leaders Anand Sharma, Pramod Tiwari, Naresh Agrawal of Samajwadi Party had given notices under Rule 267, seeking suspension of business to take up discussion on use of Article 356 in Uttrakhand. The demand was supported by Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati.
Jaitley, while referring to the developments in the Uttarakhand Assembly, contended that it had never happened in the history of Independent India that a presiding officer of a state assembly has converted majority into minority and vice versa.
Congress leader Anand Sharma attacked the government saying that it “cannot hide under rules to cover what they have done in Uttarakhand.”
He said Rule 267 as well as Rule 176 for short duration discussion do not provide any condition for initiating a debate on any issue and there have been umpteen precedents when sub-judice matters have been debated in the House.
MoS for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi raised questions asking if Congress actually wanted a discussion or was looking for disrupting proceedings.