“Let PM come and explain whether he wants Upper House to function”
Even as the focus shifts to the Rajya Sabha for a vote on FDI in multibrand retail, the BJP on Wednesday charged the UPA government with allowing frequent disruptions by its supporting parties for, it clearly lacked the numbers in the Upper House. The motion is listed for debate on Thursday and for possible voting on Friday.
(In the House of 244 members, the UPA can claim the support of 102 members, 20 short of the half-way mark. Even if the Samajwadi Party (9) and the BSP (15) abstain or walkout as they did in the Lok Sabha and the total strength comes down to 220, the UPA will still be short of eight members to win the vote on FDI.)
Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said that “in the numbers game” the House was being frequently disturbed by the government and its supporting parties (the BSP and the SP) and the listed agenda was not being taken up.
“Please call the Leader of the House [Prime Minister Manmohan Singh] and ask him whether the government wants this House to run or not,” he said addressing the chair.
Intervening, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy said the government was serious and wanted a debate (on the FDI issue).
SP raises slogans
However, much of what he said was lost in the din as SP members entered the well, raising slogans against the Constitution Amendment Bill for SC/ST reservation in promotions in government jobs. The BSP and the SP have taken diametrically opposite positions on the Bill, which has been listed for passage.
Observing that nothing was audible, Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien adjourned the House for the day a little after 12 noon.
Earlier, raising the issue of a memorial to Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar in the vicinity of Indu Mills (under the National Textiles Corporation) in Mumbai, BSP chief Mayawati wanted question hour suspended and the government to come up with an immediate response.
Disallowing suspension of question hour, Mr. Ansari said a statement from the government was already on the agenda after question hour.
However, an insistent Mayawati entered the well, prompting the Chair to adjourn the House for an hour.
When it reassembled and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said the government had decided to make available land for construction of an Ambedkar memorial, Ms. Mayawati sought details of funding.