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Left parties protest passage of Bills without discussion

New Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: The Left parties on Tuesday staged vociferous protests inside and outside Parliament against the manner in which Bills were passed amid pandemonium.

As members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stormed into the well of the Lok Sabha demanding sacking of Union Minister for Minority Affairs A.R. Antulay, Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal proceeded with the business which included passage of Bills, undeterred by noise and disruption.

Simultaneously, Left MPs rose to protest the move by the government to transact the business of passage of the Bills without any discussion. A total of nine Bills were passed in just over 15 minutes. While some Left MPs entered the well of the House, others occupied the aisles and many were seen tearing up papers protesting the move. Soon after, the MPs staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha and held an impromptu “sit-in” outside the main gate of the Parliament House.

Similar scenes were seen in the Rajya Sabha. Left MPs along with members from the Telugu Desam Party and the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam coalesced into a slogan-shouting bloc distinct from the BJP members demanding the removal of Mr. Antulay.

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned till noon. When it reconvened the Left-AIADMK-TDP protests became more vociferous with some entering the well and while a few were seen tearing up papers and this forced another adjournment.

By voice vote

The Bills that were cleared by voice vote in the Lok Sabha included the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill and South Asian University Bill. “The passage of nine Bills in such a fashion is unprecedented. I have been in Parliament for 20 years, this has never happened. This is the beginning of the end and I do not know when the dignity of the House will be restored,” lamented Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Gurudas Dasgupta.

Speaking to journalists outside Parliament, he said the manner in which the proceedings were stalled showed Parliament was being held to ransom by some members and, taking advantage of the situation, the government was getting the Bills passed. CPI (M) Parliamentary Party leader Basudeb Acharia charged the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party with “killing democracy” together since so many important Bills were passed without any discussion. “This is not a good sign for democracy. This has never happened in Parliamentary history.”The Left MPs boycotted the valedictory reference after which the Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die.

BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said the government move to pass Bills under the cover of noise was “regrettable.”

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