Dhankhar says can’t direct PM to be present in House, Oppn stages walkout

Rajya Sabha passes two Bills in absence of Opposition

Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar on Wednesday categorically said he cannot issue a directive to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come to the House as Opposition leaders pressed for a statement by Narendra Modi on the Manipur issue.

Opposition leaders, who have been demanding a discussion on the ethnic violence in Manipur under Rule 267 of Rajya Sabha, later staged a walkout in protest.

Even though logjam continued in both the Houses of Parliament, Treasury benches witnessed a brisk business in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday as the Elders’ House cleared two important Bills — the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023, and the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023 – in the absence of the Opposition.

In Lok Sabha, Speaker Om Birla decided to refrain from attending the session over the continued disruption of parliamentary activities. As per sources close to him, Birla has expressed deep displeasure with both the ruling party and the Opposition over the continued logjam in the House and he will not attend sessions until lawmakers behave according to the dignity of the house.

Meanwhile, the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which was scheduled for consideration and passage in the lower house, could not be discussed or voted upon due to the adjournments.

In reply to the discussions on the Bill, Union Minister Bhupender Yadav said, “The deep ecological model, that the West adopted in the 1960s after its focus on anthropocentric and biocentric models, has been prevalent in India for ages and is embedded in the wisdom of our Upanishads.”

In Rajya Sabha, Dhankhar announced that 58 notices have been received under Rule 267 asking for suspension of business of the House to discuss the Manipur violence issue, and one on the women’s reservation Bill.

While rejecting all the notice related to the Manipur issue, Dhankhar clarified that it is being reported that discussion under Rule 176 is a short-duration discussion and will only last for 2.5 hours, which is factually incorrect as there is no bar on time for discussion under Rule 176.

After the passage of the Forest Bill, Congress alleged that the manner in which the Bill has been “bulldozed” in Parliament reflects the Modi government’s mindset and the “vast gap that exists between its global talk and domestic walk” on issues of environment, forests and tribal rights.

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