For the 12th consecutive day, Parliament at standstill over Coalgate

Parliament could not transact any business on the 12th consecutive day on Thursday, a day before the monsoon session ends, and the government could not get through the Rajya Sabha the Constitution Amendment Bill to provide reservation in job promotions for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

Ever since it convened in the morning, the Upper House had repeatedly been adjourned as BJP members stuck to their demand for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation over Coalgate, while Samajwadi Party members directed their ire at the Bill. (The SP wants the concession extended to the OBCs too.)

The now-familiar scene of uproar and members going down the aisles was re-enacted as soon as the House mourned the victims of Wednesday’s Sivakasi cracker unit explosion, forcing the Chair to adjourn it till noon. When the House reassembled, the presiding officer went through another familiar motion of getting some of the listed business passed amid the din.

Just when it seemed order was restored and V. Maitreyan of the AIADMK rose to call attention of the Minister for External Affairs to the situation arising out of the repeated attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, it was found that the Minister was not present. This, and the resultant uproar, forced the Chair to adjourn the House again.

When the House reassembled at 2 p.m., SP members again trooped into the well, as BJP members continued to raise slogans. Amid the din, Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien asked the Minister to lay a statement on the motion on the attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen. Thereafter, as soon as Mr. Kurien asked Minister of State for Personnel V. Narayanasamy to seek consideration and passage of the Bill, pandemonium broke out, prompting the Chair to adjourn the House for the day.

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