Parliament disrupted over President’s rule in Uttarakhand

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) Imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand dominated both the houses of parliament on Monday with the Congress raising the matter in the Lok Sabha and creating ruckus in Rajya Sabha, where no meaningful business could be conducted amid uproar.

The Congress members created almost identical scenes in both houses over the issue as they raised slogans against the central government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for imposing President’s rule in Uttarakhand.

Minutes before parliament met on the first day of the second half of the budget session, Prime Minister Modi expressed the hope that parliament would be able to transact business smoothly during the session.

“In the last session also, we transacted important business. Most of them were on financial issues. The satisfaction about it reflected on the face of our members. I hope similarly business will be transacted smoothly this time as well. We hope all (parties) will cooperate in making the session a success,” Modi told reporters in the Parliament House premises.

The Congress members did exactly the opposite as they trooped near the speaker’s podium in the Lok Sabha shouting slogans like “Stop killing democracy” and “Murder of democracy will not be accepted”.

The leader of the Congress party in the house, Mallikarjun Kharge, had even given notice of adjournment of Question Hour to discuss the issue.

Aam Aadmi Party’s Bhangwant Mann had also given notice of adjournment on the issue of farmers’ suicides in Punjab and the drought situation in Maharashtra.

The Lok Sabha, however, was able to pass the Sikh Gurdwara (Amendment) Bill, 2016, with the house unanimously adopting the measure — but only after a heated debate involving members of the Shiromani Akali Dal, the Congress and the AAP.

According to the amending bill, every Sikh above the age of 21 and registered as a voter will be entitled to vote in Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and various gurdwara management committee elections.

However, no person who trims or shaves his beard or hair will be entitled to vote in these elections.

The bill, in this manner, seeks to amend the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, which regulates the administration of gurdwaras in Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Introduced in the Rajya Sabha by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on March 15, the bill was passed by the upper house on the next day.

In the Lok Sabha, members, including those from the BJP, also demanded a ban on the import of Chinese goods since, they said, substandard materials from the communist country were harming India’s small and medium enterprises.

Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said any blanket ban on imports from a country “is just not possible under the World Trade Organization norms”. She, however, assured members that adequate steps are being taken to safeguard the interest of Indian manufacturers and consumers.

The Rajya Sabha was disrupted thrice before being adjourned for the day without it being able to conduct any business.

The Congress members raised the Uttarakhand issue vociferously, saying “Modi teri tanashahi nahi chalegi” (Prime Minister Narendra Modi your dictatorship will not be tolerated).

It had already witnessed three adjournments before it met at 3 p.m., but the Congress members assembled in front of the chair soon after and started raising the issue once again.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi tried to defuse the tension urging them that there were a number of important bills that were to be passed, hence the house be allowed to work.

On this, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the Congress too wants to pass the bills but it could not be done as the house was not in order.

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien tried to pacify the agitating members but they ignored his pleas and went on shouting slogans against the Modi government.

Kurien, realizing the mood of the opposition, adjourned the house for the day.

Azad blamed the central government for creating an “atmosphere” just before the parliament session that would lead to disruptions.

“We as the opposition want the house to function and legislation passed. But in the recent past, we have seen how an atmosphere was created to stall the proceedings of the house. For the first time in the history of Indian politics, President’s Rule was imposed in Uttarakhand without following any rules and regulation. We demand a discussion on this,” said Azad.

“We are witnessing attempts from the ruling party to hinder the functioning of parliament. The central government provokes the opposition and induces disruptions,” he added.

Uttarakhand was plunged into political uncertainty after nine Congress legislators ganged up with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Later, central rule was imposed in the hill state.

In a major blow to the central government, the Uttarakhand High Court set aside President’s Rule — but a day later, the Supreme Court stayed the HC order. The matter in pending in the apex court.

Meanwhile, the Congress said it will not compromise on the Uttarakhand issue and will not let parliament function till the issue was settled.

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