Rajya Sabha crippled for third day (Second Lead)

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The Rajya Sabha was disrupted again on Thursday as the opposition continued to press for the resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the chief ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The house was finally adjourned for the day.

The upper house, which has been witnessing uproar over the Lalit Modi row and the Vyapam recruitment scam since the monsoon session started on Tuesday, saw more noisy scenes and angry exchanges between the treasury and opposition benches.

The government, which is in a minority in the upper house, was equally aggressive, insisting on a debate on the allegations against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s links with former IPL chief Lalit Modi.

The opposition wants Sushma Swaraj to resign first. The leader of the house, Arun Jaitley, pointed out that the notice given by Congress leader Anand Sharma did not mention the demand for resignation.

As soon the house assembled for the day, members from the Congress and other opposition parties were on their feet. They refused to listen to the government’s repeated appeals for a debate.

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said he failed to understand the opposition protest.

“I am at a loss to understand why this futile exercise because the other day there were some notices under Rule 267 to suspend business of the house… We suspend business of the house because this topic is important. I heard both sides and said I permitted a discussion but a discussion did not happen…

“Yesterday also the same thing happened. The government agreed for a discussion, I also agreed for a discussion. You wanted a discussion,” he said, to which the opposition retorted that they wanted action before discussion, referring to their demand for Sushma Swaraj’s resignation.

Kurien said: “I agree with you… You want discussion with some condition. My point is your condition is something I can’t implement. If discussion is not happening, what is the point of this protest?”

The leader of the house, Arun Jaitley, argued: “Anand Sharma’s motion today is without a condition. It does not say the minister must resign.”

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury and some other opposition leaders demanded to know how Jaitley got the notice.

When Kurien clarified that the notice is shared with the parliamentary affairs minister, Yechury called it a breach of privilege.

However, Jaitley read out from the rule book which said the notices on motions should be distributed to all members.

As the din continued, the house was adjourned till 12 noon, then till 2 p.m. and finally for the day.

The post lunch session too saw trouble, and most of what the MPs said was lost in the din.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanged pleasantries with former prime minister Manmohan Singh and other opposition leaders shortly after the house was adjourned after noon.

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