Rajnath Singh promised to resolve deadlock but did nothing: Mallikarjun Kharge

Mallikarjun Kharge. File   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

The Opposition-government tussle came to a head on Thursday when Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge accused the government of running a propaganda that the opposition is being inflexible despite the government’s attempt to broker a peace deal.

Mr. Kharge accused Defence Minister Rajnath Singh of not delivering on his promise to resolve the deadlock.

While the House discussed the Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021, Mr. Kharge said there was an attempt outside the House as well as inside to blame the Opposition for not cooperating in discussions during the ongoing session. An impression was being spread that Mr. Singh was trying to end the logjam but the Opposition was refusing to agree.

Mr. Kharge said Mr. Singh called him and told him that he would find some “solution” to the problem after returning from a foreign trip. But a week had passed since his return and there had been no notice for a meeting received by any leader. The Opposition was ready for a discussion, he asserted and asked the government to initiate the same.

Mr. Singh responded by telling the House that he “never made any such assurance”. He said he did call Mr. Kharge and told him that the House should function smoothly and “all important issues” should be discussed.

Goyal meets leaders

Sources said Leader of the House Piyush Goyal met Opposition leaders individually to convince them to allow the passing of the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021, and the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021. There was no mention of the Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021. Amidst ruckus, the government moved and cleared the bill by voice vote, leaving the Opposition stunned. The Opposition wanted to send the Bill for further scrutiny to a parliamentary panel. But amidst the protest that could not be possible. The Left parties, in particular, had serious objections to the Bill.

Earlier in the day, the Upper House saw two adjournments in the pre-noon session after a row broke out over a suspended TMC member breaking the glass of a door of the Chamber, an act Deputy Chairman Harivansh called “highly deplorable and condemnable”. He, however, did not name the said MP.

TMC Chief Whip Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said the MP was suspended for the remainder of the sitting of the House and she had gone to fetch her bag after the proceedings were adjourned for the day.

Jaitley’s statement

Mr. Kharge stoutly defended the TMC, saying holding protests or disrupting the proceedings of the House was not a new practice. He recalled former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s statement. “Mr. Jaitley standing where I am standing today had said that disruption in Parliament is part of democracy,” he stated.

This led to the first adjournment for 15 minutes.

When the House reassembled, Bhubaneswar Kalita, who was in the Chair, said aspersions can’t be cast on the Chair, and adjourned the proceedings till 12.00 hours.

On Wednesday, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu suspended six TMC MPs for the day for carrying placards into the well of the House while protesting, along with other Opposition members, over the Pegasus issue.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 6:07:38 PM |

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