Opposition accuses government of adopting "undemocratic approach"

The arrest of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare had its echo in Parliament on Tuesday with the entire Opposition demanding suspension of question hour to discuss the issue and accusing the government of adopting an “undemocratic approach.” Both Houses witnessed repeated adjournments and no business could be transacted.

In the Lok Sabha, the government said it was willing to have a discussion after question hour, while in the Rajya Sabha United Progressive Alliance (UPA) members prevented Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley from speaking despite permission by the Chair.

Earlier, when the Lok Sabha met for the day, Speaker Meira Kumar disallowed the notices for suspension of question hour, given by Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, among others, on Mr. Hazare's detention and on the larger issue of corruption.

Ms. Kumar said there was no provision for suspension of question hour in the Lok Sabha but asked the members making this demand to “briefly touch upon the subject.” However, when Ms. Swaraj rose to speak, Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.K. Bansal intervened and said the government was prepared for a discussion at noon when the Home Minister would reply.

In the Rajya Sabha, Mr. Jaitley alleged that the government was indulging in “murder of democracy,” while senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said in the Lok Sabha: “There is Emergency outside Parliament, there is Emergency inside Parliament.”

Ms. Swaraj alleged that Mr. Bansal was defying the Speaker by not allowing her to speak. “The undemocratic attitude adopted by the government outside the House is being adopted inside as well,” she said.

In the din, a short-duration discussion on Sri Lanka could not take place even as the Speaker called DMK leader T. R Baalu to initiate it. However, the entire Opposition, including the National Democratic Alliance constituents, the Left parties, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party, were on their toes with some members rushing to the well and resulting in adjournment for the day.

In the Rajya Sabha, when Chairman Hamid Ansari took up the first question, Mr. Jaitley rose to make a statement but the Congress members prevented him from speaking, plunging the House into turmoil. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla said the Home Minister would make a statement at noon.

As soon as the House re-assembled at noon after an adjournment, BJP members were on their feet demanding that Mr. Jaitley be allowed to speak.

Rudra Narayan Pany (BJP) rushed to the well shouting slogans even as Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan asked the members to lay papers.

Mr. Pany inched close to the Chair, and appeared to be attempting to snatch the papers kept on Mr. Khan's table but his colleagues, led by S.S Ahluwalia, dragged him away.

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