The Comptroller and Auditor General report on coal block allocations disrupted Parliament on Tuesday with the entire Opposition demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who held the Coal portfolio when alleged irregularities took place.
The Lok Sabha could not transact any business as chaotic scenes began right from the start at 11 a.m. The first adjournment was announced within a few minutes after National Democratic Alliance members trooped into the well.
The Rajya Sabha functioned, only to elect Congress leader P.J. Kurien as Deputy Chairman unanimously before adjourning for the day amid uproar.
As soon as the Lok Sabha met, members of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Janata Dal (United), Shiromani Akali Dal, Shiv Sena and Biju Janata Dal demanded Dr. Singh’s resignation. They were supported by the Left parties, AIADMK and TDP, following which Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House till noon.
Tabled in Parliament on Friday, the CAG report has estimated a loss of Rs 1.86-lakh crore due to coal block allocations without auction from 2005 to 2009.
There was no let-up in the unruly scenes when the Lok Sabha met again. Opposition members trooped into the well and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde tried to placate them, saying the government was ready for a discussion on the report but to no avail.
Ms. Kumar said, “If the sense of the House is that there should be a discussion, we can discuss this issue.” When members continued to raise slogans, she adjourned the House for the day.
Similar scenes were witnessed in the Rajya Sabha. Almost the entire Opposition, led by BJP deputy leader Ravi Shankar Prasad, M. Venkaiah Naidu and Shivanand Tiwari (JD-U), raised slogans as soon as the House assembled.
While the NDA demanded that Dr. Singh resign, the Left parties wanted the government to spell out its stand on three CAG reports.
The Samajwadi Party, which supports the UPA government from outside, protested Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma’s comments on inflation. Chairman Hamid Ansari repeatedly appealed for calm but in vain. Later, he adjourned the House till noon. When the House met again, there was calm and the election of Mr. Kurien was taken up after which chaos prevailed again.
The government countered the attack with Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.K. Bansal and Ministers of State Rajeev Shukla and V. Narayanasamy saying the government was ready for a discussion but the Opposition was running away.
As the uproar continued, Mr. Kurien adjourned the House for the day.