Theweekendleader

Chaos over Rafale continues in Parliament, stalls proceedings

New Delhi

18-December-2018

Proceedings in both Houses of Parliament were disrupted for the sixth consecutive day on Tuesday over various issues, including the Rafale fighter jets deal.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day hours after it met as both opposition and treasury benches created a ruckus over the Rafale deal, prompting admonitions from the Speaker for being unruly and "worse than school kids".

Following the first adjournment at noon, when the House reassembled, the scene inside the lower House was no different.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan tried to transact the business for the day but was repeatedly interrupted due to the sloganeering. 

"It's not sending a good message outside. I have heard from people from abroad asking what is happening in the Indian Parliament," she said.

Mahajan said she had received feedback that even school children behaved better than parliamentarians.

But no amount of chiding helped as the Congress, AIADMK and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) members trooped near the Speaker's podium and started raising slogans against the government.

The Congress demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the 36 ready-to-fly Rafale jets deal with France, accusing the government of lying before the Supreme Court on the matter.

The AIADMK members wanted Karnataka to take back its proposal to construct a dam across the Cauvery river at Mekadatu, while the TDP raised several issues related to their demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh.

Both ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress members exchanged heated arguments, with the opposition seeking an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi while the other demanding the same from Congress President Rahul Gandhi for misleading the House and the nation on the defence deal.

Amid sloganeering, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs C.P. Chowdary introduced the National Institute of Design (Amendment) Bill 2018.

As the din continued, Mahajan urged the members to go back to their seats and allow the House to function smoothly.

"Parliament is for debate and discussion, but this is not the way. This session is very important and we all have to face elections next year. The government is ready for discussion.

"We have a responsibility. We have to maintain the standard of Parliament," she said.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that opposition was ready for discussion and urged the government to accept the demand for JPC probe into the Rafale deal.

"We respect democracy. But the Prime Minister is silent. We are demanding a JPC probe into the Rafale deal. The deal was discussed at length during the No-Confidence Motion.

"Accept the probe for smooth functioning of the House," he said.

To this, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the government was ready for discussion on any issue but the JPC probe.

"The need for JPC doesn't arise as the Supreme Court in its verdict has made it clear that a probe is not needed," he said.

As the din continued, Mahajan adjourned the House for the day.

Earlier, when the House met, the Congress, AIADMK and the TDP raised their respective issues.

Amid the din, Mahajan had to adjourn the House initially till noon.

The Rajya Sabha was also adjourned for the day minutes after it met in the post-lunch session amid ruckus by both opposition and treasury benches.

As soon as the House met, Congress member Anand Sharma raised a point of order and referred to a remark made by Minister of State (MoS) for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel in the morning with respect to Congress President Rahul Gandhi.

Sharma said Goel -- who had sought an apology from Gandhi for allegedly making false allegations against the government on the Rafale deal -- had violated the rules as the Congress chief was not a member of the Rajya Sabha.

He demanded to know as to "on what basis" Goel made such a remark.

This led to noisy exchanges between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Paty (BJP) members, who were on their feet.

In the meantime, the AIADMK members again trooped to the podium with placards.

Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu adjourned the House for the day amid the ruckus.

Earlier in the day, as the upper House met, members from Tamil Nadu-based parties -- AIADMK and DMK -- came near the podium holding placards and raising slogans. They were protesting against a proposed dam on the Cauvery river.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the most important issue was the breach of privilege of the House by the government on the Rafale deal.

Chairman Naidu said that he was "examining" the breach of privilege notices given by the opposition and would soon take a decision. - IANS