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Parliament proceedings hit for the fourth day

Aarti Dhar

NEW DELHI: Functioning of both Houses of Parliament was disrupted for the fourth day in a row on Friday, with an aggressive Opposition sticking to its demand for a discussion on price rise that entailed voting. While most of the official agenda for the first week of the monsoon session was abandoned — barring the approval of President's rule in Jharkhand without any debate on Thursday, and the tabling of a couple of Bills — the government managed to introduce the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research Bill in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

When the Lok Sabha met, the entire Opposition was on its feet, protesting against price rise and demanding suspension of question hour to take up discussion on price rise under Rule 184.

Raising the issue, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said: “We have been pressing for a debate on price rise for the past four days either under adjournment motion or Rule 184, but the government is adamant on not having a debate under any rule that entails voting.”

As National Democratic Alliance and Samajwadi Party members trooped into the well of the House, shouting slogans, Speaker Meira Kumar said the notice for discussion under Rule 184 was under her consideration.

Intervening in the matter, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the government always favoured a debate. He blamed the Opposition for not allowing it for the past four days. “They [Opposition] keep talking about rules, but we are ready for discussion.”

In the din, the Speaker called for question hour. This evoked a sharp response from the Opposition members. They raised slogans against the government. Ms. Kumar then adjourned the proceedings till noon.

After the House reassembled, papers were laid, but the Opposition members persisted with their protest in the well, forcing adjournment for the day.

Similar scenes were witnessed in the Rajya Sabha. Chairman Hamid Ansari's taking up of the listed questions evoked immediate protests from the entire Opposition, led by Bharatiya Janata Party.

They were joined by most of the non-National Democratic Alliance Opposition — including Left, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and even the Bahujan Samaj Party, which is known to give outside support to the government. The House was adjourned till Monday after the laying of papers.

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