As Railway motormen brought Mumbai to a standstill, MPs, including from Congress, on Tuesday paralysed functioning of Parliament over the issue, expressing solidarity with striking employees and targeting Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee for failing to avert the situation.
Proceedings in the Lok Sabha were disrupted as Opposition members, particularly those from Shiv Sena, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Left parties, continuously created uproar forcing three adjournments till 5:30 PM.
Members of these parties, along with those of the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), said the notice for agitation had been given months back and questioned why the Railway Minister did not do anything to resolve the matter.
Ms. Banerjee was away in West Bengal in connection with the municipal polls.
The issue was raised in the Rajya Sabha also with the BJP members accusing the Railway Minister of “inaction” and demanding a response from the government on the matter.
Lok Sabha witnessed an impromptu debate, which was capped by a clash between Trinamool and Left members after Trinamool leader Sudip Bandopadhyay apparently hurled some expletives at CPI(M) leader Basudeb Acharia.
Ms. Bandopadhyay lost temper when Mr. Acharia, along with members of other parties, was insisting on immediate response from Ms. Banerjee.
Nothing could be heard in the din that followed Mr. Bandopadhyay’s attack on Mr. Acharia. Several members were seen rushing towards the Trinamool leader to pacify him.
While Mr. Acharia remained calm, his party colleague Ramachandra Dom responded angrily to Mr. Bandopadhyay’s utterances, leading to a clash and prompting Speaker Meira Kumar to adjourn the House till 2 PM.
Similar scenes were witnessed when the House reassembled and it was adjourned till 5:30 PM.
Earlier, the issue was raised by Shiv Sena and BJP members as soon as the House met for the day. In view of the uproar, the Speaker adjourned the House till 12 PM.
The issue was again raised by Shiv Sena as Zero Hour started, with its members trooping into the well. Carrying placards, they chanted slogans like “Mumbai ki local train chalu karo, nahi to sansad nahi chalega (resume services of Mumbai local trains, otherwise the House will not run).”
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said he would convey the sentiments to Ms. Banerjee. This, however, did not satisfy the members and they continued to shout slogans.
Sensing the mood, the Speaker allowed leaders of parties to speak on the issue and a discussion ensued.
Keywords: Mumbai motormen strike