Today's Paper

We'll decide on functioning of Parliament: Sushma

Sharad Yadav not happy with daily disturbances

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said here on Wednesday that it is the Bharatiya Janata Party which would decide “on a daily basis” whether Parliament would be allowed to function that day.

“Each morning the [BJP] core parliamentary committee meets and takes a decision whether to allow Parliament to function that day,” she told a press conference she addressed in Parliament House, along with Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley.

Asked whether a party with some 165 MPs in both the Houses with a total strength of some 750 MPs should decide such a matter, she responded: “We do decide.” And her colleague, Mr. Jaitley simply nodded.

The BJP's biggest ally, the Janata Dal (United), it seems is not too happy with the daily disturbances in Parliament. Mr. Sharad Yadav, president of JD(U), told The Hindu that at a National Democratic Alliance meeting ahead of the start of the monsoon session, it was decided by all NDA parties, including the BJP, that Parliament must be allowed to function to enable all parties, especially, the Opposition, to raise matters of importance to them. He said he did not know why the BJP leadership had decided to stall the proceedings.

At the joint press conference, Ms. Swaraj explained: “Earlier, we had demanded the resignation of Home Minister P. Chidambaram in the 2G matter, now we are saying he should be sacked ( unhe barkhast karo ),” because of “police atrocities” committed on the party's youth wing-led demonstrators at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday.

Asked whether the BJP had demanded the sacking of the Home Minister of Bihar – Chief Minister Nitish Kumar holds the Home portfolio — after the Forbesganj incident of June 3 when four Muslims, including a pregnant woman, were killed in police firing and video recordings of the dead being kicked by the police were circulated for all to see — Ms. Swaraj turned to her party colleague Shahnawaz Husain. He suggested that since a judicial inquiry had been ordered into the incident, the matter need not be raised again.

Information from within the BJP is that on Monday evening-Tuesday morning BJP's parliamentary leaders decided to allow a debate on Tuesday on “issues arising from the statement of Sports Minister Ajay Maken” the previous week. But by Tuesday morning, BJP president Nitin Gadkari stepped in to convey a strong message: Parliament must not function.

Mr. Gadkari got feedback from its Delhi unit that while the leaders had told them to protest against the Sheila Dikshit government, allowing Parliament to function the same day would take the focus away from their demonstration.

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