For the second consecutive day on March 14, both Houses of Parliament were disrupted over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks in London that Indian democracy is in peril, with the Treasury Benches demanding an apology from him, and the Opposition hitting back and demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe on the Adani Group-Hindenburg Research issue.
As soon as the Lok Sabha assembled for the day, BJP MPs began raising slogans demanding an apology from Mr. Gandhi, while the Congress-led Opposition waved placards demanding a JPC on the Adani issue.
“Rahul Gandhi maafi maango (Rahul Gandhi apologise),” BJP members shouted repeatedly from their seats.
The Opposition remained in the aisle and waved placards with their JPC demand. Some of the placards featured quotes from speeches made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visits abroad.
“Pata nahi pehle janam main kya paap kiya tha, Hindustan main paida hua (don’t know what sin I had committed that I was born in India),” read a placard, quoting the PM’s speech in Seoul in May 2015.
“BRICS ka ‘I’ ludak raha hai (the ‘I’ in BRICS is tottering),” one placard said, referring to the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa grouping.
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At this, Speaker Om Birla asked the Opposition to not show placards and let the House function. He also tried to take up the Question Hour. “I will give the opportunity to raise issues after Question Hour. Question Hour is an important part of parliamentary proceedings. I will give you adequate opportunities, but after Question Hour. I urge you to return to your seats. I will allow every topic to be raised as per the rules,” Mr. Birla said.
When the protests continued, the Speaker adjourned the house till 2 p.m..
After the resumption of the Lok Sabha at 2 p.m., papers and standing committee reports were presented amid sloganeering and the House was adjourned for the day in seven minutes.
Similar scenes were witnessed in the Rajya Sabha. Soon after members congratulated the Oscar award winners from India, the Leader of the House and Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal reiterated his position that the House should condemn the speech allegedly tarnishing the country’s image by “one Opposition leader”. Mr. Goyal said the leader had ridiculed both the Houses of Parliament, the Chairpersons, the President of India, and leaders of various political parties.
The Opposition questioned this and its members stormed to the Well of the House. They demanded a discussion on the Adani Group controversy following the Hindenburg Research report. They also urged Chairperson Jagdeep Dhankhar to consider a notice for privilege motion moved by senior Congress MP Shaktisinh Gohil against Mr. Goyal.
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The Opposition also asked Mr. Dhankhar what decision he had taken on various adjournment motions they had moved. Mr Dhankhar said he had received various adjournment motions on the matter of the Adani Group but he would not allow them.
He also rejected Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP P. Wilson’s adjournment motion against the delay by the Tamil Nadu Governor in signing certain Bills passed by the State Assembly. Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Binoy Viswam’s motion for a discussion on post-poll violence in Tripura was also rejected.
As the ruckus continued, Mr. Dhankhar adjourned the House till 2 p.m.
The Upper House was adjourned in less than 15 minutes after reconvening after lunch at 2 p.m. Even as the session began, members of the Treasury Benches were on their feet, shouting slogans and demanding an apology from Mr. Gandhi, drowning out the voice of Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary, who rose to move Supplementary Demands for Grants to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in 2022-23.
In response, the Opposition Benches raised counter slogans against the alleged collusion between Modi government and Adani Group.