Unless Minister clarifies House will not function: BJP

On the opening day of the second part of the Budget session on Monday, Rajya Sabha witnessed uproar leading to repeated adjournments over procedural wrangling for taking up a motion for suspension of Question Hour to discuss government’s alleged interference in the preparation of the CBI report on the allotment of coal blocks.

Opposition members were adamant on seeking suo motu statements from both, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, on the issue. AIADMK member V. Maitreyan, who moved the motion for suspension of the Question Hour to discuss the issue, wanted the Minister to be summoned to the Bar of the House.

Outside the Parliament, even as Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath rejected a demand raised by the Opposition for the resignation of Mr. Kumar on the issue, BJP leader Ravi Prasad declared that unless the Minister clarifies his position in Parliament, the House will not function.

In the House, the Question Hour and the Zero Hour were lost as members argued the technicalities involved in putting the motion to vote (in a house where the government is in a minority). Saying that the motion cannot be put to vote unless there is peace in the House, Mr. Ansari adjourned the House for the second time before noon.

“I am asking for peace. A Motion has been moved. It is to be voted. Voting cannot take place in noise. Motion cannot be put to vote,” Mr. Ansari said as members from BJP and AIADMK rushed into the Well.

The motion was later declared “infructuous” by the Chair. “Whether voted or not, that issue has become infructuous at 12 o’clock because Question Hour is over,” Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien ruled.

Some other members raised the issue of the notice given by them to discuss “leak” of the draft of the JPC report on the 2G spectrum issue.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla intervened to say that Opposition members cannot single out one report and “the JPC, PAC and CAG all reports should be discussed.” This prompted Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley (BJP) to ask if the government was moving a motion to discuss its own institutions as the Opposition had given notice only to discuss the JPC report leak.

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