Parliament logjam persists, GST bill introduced
With only two days remaining, the monsoon session of parliament seemed headed for a complete washout as the logjam persisted on Tuesday even though the government managed to introduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill in the Rajya Sabha amid loud protests.
The bill was introduced in the upper house after a report by a select committee of the Rajya Sabha.
As Congress members created ruckus and trooped near the chairman's podium, a visibly angry Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the protests were aimed at stalling the economic growth of the country.
The introduction of the bill was opposed by Congress leader Anand Sharma, who said the business advisory committee has not allotted time for debating the bill.
Soon after the bill was moved, the Congress began its protest, demanding the resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The house was adjourned for the day by Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien soon after.
Jaitley told media persons outside parliament that the Congress party's "two leaders" were unable to accept anyone from outside the 'Gandhi family' running the nation.
"Maybe, the two leaders of the Congress are unable to accept the fact that someone outside the Gandhi family can also run the country," he said, without naming anyone.
Jaitley said the government will use every alternative mechanism to get the GST bill passed, adding that when the bill was sent to a select committee in the budget session, there was an understanding that it will be passed in the monsoon session.
The Lok Sabha, meanwhile, saw protests and sloganeering from the Congress over its demand for the resignation of the three BJP leaders.
Heated words were also exchanged over how the IPL issue would be debated.
While the government had listed for a discussion under rule 193 which does not entail voting, the Congress wanted it to be debated as an adjournment motion.
When the BJP's Arjun Ram Meghwal sought to begin the discussion on the "Matters arising out of Indian Premier League controversy and other related issues" under rule 193, members belonging to the Congress and some other parties strongly protested.
A member from the opposition benches tore up a paper near the speaker's podium and BJP members sought to block Congress members from coming near the treasury benches with their placards.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan called it "a murder of democracy". The speaker also asked Lok Sabha TV to show the protests so that people can see the scenes for themselves.
Soon after the house met in the morning, members of the Congress, Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal came near the speaker's podium, carrying placards regarding their demands and started shouting slogans.
Mahajan repeatedly asked members to take their seats.
"This is not the way. This is murder of democracy. This is not democracy. Please show it (on LS TV) so that the entire country sees 40-50 members are disrupting proceedings," she said.
But the Congress and some other opposition parties continued their protest.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi were present in the house during the party's protests.
As the Congress members kept raising slogans and showing placards, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu urged the speaker to take action.
The Congress and other parties are demanding the resignation of Sushma Swaraj and Raje over the Lalit Modi issue and of Chouhan over the Vyapam scam.
At one point, BJP members started raising slogans against the Congress leadership. However, they were asked to desist by Naidu.
The speaker had last week suspended 25 Congress member for not observing rules. - IANS