Modi’s presence fails to end impasse

Opposition clamour for PM’s intervention continues

Updated - November 16, 2021 04:51 pm IST

Published - December 18, 2014 11:53 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Rajya Sabha during the House proceedings on Thursday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Rajya Sabha during the House proceedings on Thursday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday failed to end the stalemate in the House as the ruling party and the Opposition wrangled over the procedures for a debate on religious conversions and incidents of communal violence.

While the government maintained that the Home Minister was competent to reply, the Opposition insisted on a reply by Mr. Modi as he handled “major policy issues.”

Among the legislative business that got derailed was discussion on and passage of the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2008, the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2014 and the Appropriation (No. 4) Bill, 2014.

Since questions relating to the Prime Minister’s portfolios are taken up on Thursdays, Mr. Modi was present in the House when CPI (M) members sought to move a resolution to set aside Question Hour. Initially, Chairman Hamid Ansari disallowed the resolution. But when the Leader of the House, Arun Jaitley (BJP), said the government was ready for a debate immediately, Mr. Ansari called for a discussion.

While senior leaders Sharad Yadav (JD-U), Mayawati (BSP), Derek O’Brien (TMC) and Anand Sharma (Congress) kept pressing for a reply from Mr. Modi, Mr. Jaitley said the Opposition could not dictate who should reply from the government’s side. As arguments continued, Mr. Ansari adjourned the House for lunch.

When the House re-assembled, Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, who was in the Chair, allowed P. Rajeeve (CPI-M) to move the motion for a debate on communal incidents. However, Opposition members once again began the clamour for Mr. Modi’s reply.

Amid heated arguments, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he would reply but “if members are not satisfied with my reply, there can be a possibility that the Prime Minister may intervene.”

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