Parliament logjam ends; AAP, BRS persist with Adani debate demand

Despite the Opposition publicly expressing its agreement on allowing Parliament to function, both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned by their chairs for the first half of the day

February 07, 2023 08:06 pm | Updated 08:06 pm IST - NEW DELHI

View of the Lok Sabha during Budget Session of Parliament in New Delhi on February 7, 2023.

View of the Lok Sabha during Budget Session of Parliament in New Delhi on February 7, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

Ending the four-day logjam in Parliament, most Opposition parties — barring the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) — decided to participate in the debate on the motion of thanks to the President, even in the absence of a focused debate on the Hindenburg revelations about the Adani group and its impact on LIC and SBI.

In a meeting held on Tuesday morning at the Parliament office of Mallikarjun Kharge, the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Rajya Sabha, AAP MP Sanjay Singh made it clear that his party will persist with demanding a structured debate on the Adani issue and is not willing to participate in usual Parliamentary business.

BRS leaders were not present at the meeting. Speaking to reporters later, BRS MP and senior leader K. Keshav Rao said, “We have our differences on how the Parliament should work, but this should not be seen as serious division in the Opposition. We are all united in our demand on seeking a probe by Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), but we strongly feel that there should be focused debate on the Adani issue and the government should come clean. For the same reason we boycotted the President’s address too.”

Soon after the Opposition’s meeting, the Congress general secretary for communications Jairam Ramesh tweeted, “Most Opposition parties have decided to participate in Parliamentary proceedings from today and continue to raise their demand for a JPC into the PM-linked Adani Maha Mega Scam.”

Morning adjournments

Even though the Opposition publicly expressed its willingness to participate in Parliamentary proceedings, both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha failed to function in the first half of the day.

Between two adjournments, the Rajya Sabha functioned for a total of 13 minutes in the first half of the day. For the fourth day in a row, Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar rejected the notices moved by 13 Opposition members under Rule 267, seeking a debate on the Adani issue. There was only verbal protest from the Opposition members at his decision.

“Let me tell the honourable members, for the last three sittings, we had, at our disposal, 17 hours and 30 minutes. We have transacted business only for 35 minutes, 3.3%. It is time for us to reflect,” Mr. Dhankhar said, before adjourning the house till noon. When the Rajya Sabha reconvened, AAP and BRS members protested by trooping into the well of the House. The House was adjourned within a minute.

Question Hour disrupted

In the Lok Sabha too, proceedings were disrupted and the House was adjourned till noon after Opposition members demanded a JPC probe into the allegations of fraud made against the Adani Group.

As soon as the House met, Opposition members, including those from the Congress and the BRS, were on their feet to know the status of their demand. “You are not interested in allowing the Question Hour to take place. This is not a good precedent. Question Hour should never be suspended and it was also decided by the presiding officers of Parliament,” Speaker Om Birla said, after Opposition members failed to heed his request to return to their seats. While most Opposition MPs were protesting from their seats, three of them were on the edge of the well.

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