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Day four: Parliament in tumult continues

By Our New Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI, MARCH 4. Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned for the fourth successive day today as the Opposition continued with its protest against the political developments in Jharkhand and Goa. While the Lok Sabha was adjourned within minutes with the Speaker, Somnath Chatterjee, describing it as a ``very sad day for Indian Parliament,'' the Rajya Sabha followed suit ahead of the lunch break after an hour's adjournment in between.

As has been the case all the week, the issue cropped up the moment both Houses met for the day. The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, L. K. Advani, demanded the recall of the Governors of Jharkhand and Goa. Jaswant Singh's bid in the Rajya Sabha to echo the same point was, however, shouted down by the ruling benches.

Soon after Mr. Advani made his point, the Opposition members trooped into the well, shouting slogans. Through the din, the Speaker announced the adjournment of the House till March 9. Before doing so, he said: ``In view of the disorderly situation in the House, I am compelled to adjourn the House. But today is another very sad day for Indian Parliament. Our democracy is under challenge now. I appeal to all sections of the House not to liquidate democracy. We should not participate in the liquidation of democracy and denigrate Parliament any further.''

Chair's suggestion

The Rajya Sabha was thrown into disarray as soon as it met when Mr. Jaswant Singh rose to raise the issue. Vociferous protests from the ruling benches prevented him from being heard. The Chairman, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, said if the Leader of the Opposition was allowed to speak, an opportunity would be given to the ruling party to reply. ``This is a way to break the stalemate.''

However, the Congress members were in no mood to listen to Mr. Jaswant Singh and demanded that Question Hour be taken up. There was also a suggestion that ``the sense of the House'' be taken.

At this, Pramod Mahajan (BJP) said the Opposition did not have a majority in the House and that is why it was in Opposition. ``If the Leader of the Opposition had to take the sense of the House whenever he wants to raise an issue, then he would never be able to speak in the House.''

Having heard this, the BJP members went back to slogan-shouting; forcing the Chair to adjourn the House at 11-30 a.m. for an hour. When the House reassembled, the Deputy Chairman, K. Rahman Khan, hurried through the business of laying papers even as the Opposition members continued their protest. Within four minutes the House was adjourned again till March 9.

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