The Comptroller and Auditor-General’s report on coal blocks allocation continued to haunt the government on Wednesday.
For the second day, both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were adjourned without conducting any business, except the tabling of papers, as Opposition members stalled the proceedings pressing their demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Both Houses were frequently adjourned in the pre-lunch session as Opposition members raised slogans against Dr. Singh and the government.
As soon as the Lok Sabha met for the day, Speaker Meira Kumar made an obituary reference to the former member, Prabhat Singh Chauhan. Immediately, members of the BJP, the Shiv Sena, the JD(U), the TDP, the BJD and the AIADMK trooped into the well, raising slogans. Some Left members were also seen protesting, but they were seeking a statement from Dr. Singh on the coal blocks allocation, not his resignation.
Ms. Kumar appealed to members to allow question hour to proceed and assured them that “as a special case” she would allow a discussion on the CAG report at noon. But Opposition members did not relent, forcing her to adjourn the House. There was another adjournment before lunch as the tumult continued.
“Koyle ki dalali hai, saari Congress Kali hai” (there is a scam in coal allocation, the entire Congress is black) and “Pradhanmantri istipha do” (PM quit) were some of the slogans raised in both Houses.
The CAG report, tabled in Parliament on Friday, estimated a loss of Rs. 1.86 lakh crore in coal blocks allocation without auction from 2005 to 2009, during which the Prime Minister held the Coal portfolio.
In the Rajya Sabha, the Opposition was not pacified by the government’s offer of a discussion, leading to three adjournments in the pre-lunch session. Chairman Hamid Ansari’s appeal to members not to raise slogans went unheeded.
Raising his voice above the din, he asked senior BJP member M. Venkaiah Naidu what he wanted to say. “We want the Prime Minister to go and not a mere statement on the issue,” the member said.
Amid slogan shouting, Mr. Ansari adjourned the House for 30 minutes. When it reassembled, similar scenes were witnessed and the House was adjourned till noon. There was no let-up in the uproar when the House reassembled.
“Pradhanmantri istipha do,” NDA and AIADMK members shouted in unison. Congress members countered this, chanting: “Pradhanmantri zindabad.”
When both Houses met at 2 p.m., pandemonium continued, prompting the presiding officers to adjourn for the day.