The Rajya Sabha was adjourned thrice Monday, the third time for the day, with angry opposition members demanding a parliamentary probe on the government’s alleged tapping of telephones of prominent politicians, including one from the ruling Congress.
A “categorical” assurance by Home Minister P. Chidambaram that no phone tapping was ordered failed to satisfy the MPs, who initially demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh make a statement and then sought a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the issue.
The trouble started soon after the house assembled with Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) MPs protesting and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Prithviraj Chavan saying the government would make a statement after the question hour.
This did not pacify the opposition. With the Left and Samajwadi Party joining the BJP, the protests continued unabated, forcing Chairman Hamid Ansari to adjourn the house till noon.
When the house reassembled, the opposition again demanded that the prime minister make a statement.
Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan said the government was prepared to make a statement but this did not go down well with the opposition.
“How can the government make a statement without hearing us?” asked BJP’s M. Venkaiah Naidu.
Failing to restore order, Khan adjourned the house till 12.30 p.m.
When it reassembled, Chidambaram was called to make a statement -- the one he had made in the Lok Sabha.
Led by Prakash Javadekar, BJP members advanced towards the speaker’s podium demanding a JPC probe into the affair.
Chidambaram continued to read his statement during the din. Once he was done, Khan adjourned the house for the day.