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Parliament proceedings | Both Houses fail to function for second consecutive day

Opposition members protest in the Rajya Sabha on March 9, 2021. Photo: RSTV via PTI   | Photo Credit: PTI

For the second consecutive day, both Houses of Parliament failed to function on Tuesday, with relentless protests from opposition members after their demand for a debate on the frequent hike in fuel prices was rejected.

The Rajya Sabha saw two adjournments before the House was closed for the day at 2.10 p.m. On Tuesday, both Houses of Parliament returned to the pre-COVID timings and seating arrangements, with members sitting in their respective chambers instead of being spread out in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha chambers.

 

The first adjournment in the Upper House came within 20 minutes of its convening as opposition members began protests when Deputy Chairman Harivansh once again refused to concede to their demand for suspending the business of the day to debate the rising fuel prices.

“You all are well aware of the ruling given by the Chairman on the issue; he has already said that there are many opportunities to discuss the fuel hike in the course of the session and separate time can not be set aside for it,” Mr. Harivansh said.

Leader of the Opposition Malikarjun Kharge said the fuel hikes have had a cascading impact on the prices of essential commodities and there should be a separate discussion on the consequent scarcity. He said, at least, the government should assure the House that the prices will be scaled back to the 2013-14 levels.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tried unsuccessfully to convince the Opposition to clear the Statutory Resolution and the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which seeks to replace an ordinance in this regard, saying its passage is essential. The Bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha.

However, senior Congress MP Anand Sharma said according to the tradition in the House, no government bill is taken up when the Opposition is demanding a discussion over an important issue.

“Opposition has a right to take up the issue,” he said as several opposition members kept raising slogans demanding a discussion on the rising fuel prices.

Similar scenes were witnessed in Lok Sabha. The Lower House was adjourned for the day after multiple adjournments were forced by the Opposition protests over rising fuel prices.

As soon as the House convened at 11 a.m. and the Question Hour was being taken up, MPs of the Congress and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) trooped into the well of the House. When Speaker Om Birla failed to restore order, he adjourned the House until noon.

When Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury talked of a “digital divide” with Opposition members not being shown by Lok Sabha TV, Mr Birla asked him if he wanted the people of India to see the disruptions.

The House was adjourned until 2 p.m. by Meenakshi Lekhi, who was on the Chair, and eventually, for the day as protests continued after it resumed post lunch.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 4:47:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/parliament-proceedings-both-houses-fail-to-function-for-second-consecutive-day/article34029039.ece

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