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Rising prices rock Parliament

New Delhi Bureau

Members picket the well of the House; Left-UNPA take out protest march


Lok Sabha adjourned after second disruption

Universalisation of PDS demanded


NEW DELHI: The issue of spiralling prices rocked Parliament when it reopened for the second half of the budget session on Tuesday.

Members from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Left parties and the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) disrupted both Houses, while the Left parties joined hands with the UNPA to take out a rally to protest rising inflation.

The Lok Sabha witnessed two quick adjournments within half-an-hour as members from the BJP, Samajwadi Party (SP) and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) shouted slogans and picketed the well. Though Speaker Somnath Chatterjee called for the names of all those raising slogans to be taken down, they refused to relent.

Meeting held

A meeting of leaders called by the Speaker after the first adjournment failed to break the stalemate and the House was adjourned for the day within minutes of meeting for the second time.

Ahead of the second adjournment, Mr. Chatterjee sought to remind the members that a discussion on price rise had been scheduled for the day and they could air their opinions then.

As per the day’s list of business, the issue was to be discussed under Rule 193. The House had decided to convert a pending notice for a calling attention motion on the subject into a discussion under 193 to facilitate wider participation.

Similar scenes were witnessed in the Rajya Sabha after new members were administered the oath and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had introduced the new additions to his Council of Ministers.

Earlier in the morning, members of both Houses from the Left parties, SP and TDP marched from Vithalbhai Patel House to Parliament House to register their protest against the ‘relentless price rise.’ Part of the week-long action that the Left parties and the UNPA are mounting, they demanded universalisation of the Public Distribution System (PDS), restoration of the cut in food grain allocation to States under it and inclusion of 15 essential commodities including pulses, edible oil and sugar in PDS.

Besides, they demanded a ban on futures trading in 25 agricultural commodities, a cut in customs and excise duties on oil, reduction in retail prices of petrol and diesel, stringent action against hoarders of essential commodities, and strengthening of the Essential Commodities Act to empower State Governments to deal with hoarding and black-marketing.

“We will protest on the streets against rising inflation till April 23 along with UNPA leaders to pin down the government,” said Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury.

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