Speaker assures enough time to raise issues
NEW DELHI, Feb 6:
The Government’s hopes for the start of a debate on the President’s address in Parliament in the new week were dashed today as a determined Opposition stalled proceedings in both Houses again, raising the allegations of fraud against the Adani group and demanding a JPC probe.
Following the presentation of the Union Budget on February 1, little business has been transacted in either Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha due to the Opposition’s protests over the issue.
Ruling BJP members have maintained that the affairs involving private entities cannot be discussed in Parliament and opposition parties can raise the issue during the customary debate on the President’s address at the start of the Budget Session on January 31.
The Government was hopeful that the discussion on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address will start on Monday. The Prime Minister generally replies to the discussion in both Houses.
As soon as Lok Sabha met after the weekend break, opposition members, mostly Congress MPs, entered the Well shouting slogans such as “Adani sarkar shame-shame”.
They reiterated their demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the allegations of fraud and stock manipulation by a US-based short-selling firm against the port-to-power conglomerate. The Adani Group has denied the allegations against it.
Speaker Om Birla urged them to go back to their seats and participate in the debate.
“This is not good. Sloganeering is against the dignity of the House. People have elected you to raise their issues in Parliament but you are not interested in participating in debate,” he said.
Birla said the Opposition members should come to his chamber and discuss with him their demands.
He assured them that he would give the Opposition enough time to raise their issues in the House.
“This is Parliament. Maintain some dignity. This is a respected House. The House is for debate and discussions. The way you are disrupting the House is not good,” he said.
The Speaker told the opposition members that slogan shouting is not a good practice and also not good for the country.
“Have people elected you for sloganeering in Parliament? You have ruled this country for a long time. Such behaviour is not good on your part. You are not interested in allowing the House to function properly,” he said.
However, the Opposition ignored his pleas and continued their protests and slogan-shouting, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House till 2 pm.
TMC members were also on their feet but protested from their seats.
As the House resumed after 2 pm, the opposition parties continued their protests.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi requested them to calm down and allow the tradition of discussing the President’s address.
“I request you to let the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address be allowed to take place as it is part of the Parliamentary convention. Whatever you want to say you can say during the debate and the Government will reply,” said Joshi.
He also said that the Government’s stand has been stated by the Finance Minister and is in the public domain.
Rajya Sabha proceedings were similarly adjourned for the day without transacting any business as a united Opposition continued to raise in the House allegations of fraud against the Adani Group.
As soon as the Upper House reassembled for the afternoon session, having been adjourned till 2 pm in the morning, the Opposition members asked for a discussion on the issue.
Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar, however, did not allow their request, asking them to let the listed business conclude. With the Opposition parties unrelenting, he adjourned the House for the day.(PTI)
Earlier in the morning session, he did not accept 10 notices given by various leaders of opposition parties to suspend the listed business of the day and take up the issues raised by them.
“We must conclude with our listed business and that is what we should be doing,” he said.
Dhankhar asserted that discussions on the listed businesses give members “all opportunities of expression” and “it defies logical reason why we are not availing it.”
Several opposition members reacted sharply to this and started shouting slogans, continuing to press their demands.
Birla also disallowed all the adjournment motions proposed by several opposition members.
Adani Group stocks have taken a beating on the bourses after the US short-seller Hindenburg Research made a litany of allegations last fortnight in its report, including fraudulent transactions and share price manipulation at the Gautam Adani-led group, which has denied the charges.
The market losses of the Adani Group have risen to nearly USD 103 billion (about Rs 8.5 lakh crore).
The rout in Adani group stocks has threatened the value of investments made by the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and Public Sector Banks. (PTI)