Stalemate in Rajya Sabha continues

New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha could not transact any business for the 15th straight day, as opposition parties continued to create ruckus, forcing adjournment of proceedings.

Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu adjourned the Rajya Sabha for the day but not before expressing anguish over the House not doing any business since it met on March 5.

Naidu said past disruptions should not be cited to justify the “present wrong” and voiced hope the government will take the opposition into confidence to ensure the House functions next week.

Andhra parties, including the TDP, and KVP Ramachandra Rao of the Congress trooped in the Well today shouting slogans for special status to the state while Tamil Nadu parties – DMK and AIADMK- raised the Cauvery water issue.

Congress members too were in the Well shouting slogans that the government was anti-SC/ST, in an apparent reference to the Supreme Court ruling on the Scheduled castes and tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

After paying tributes to freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukdev, who were hanged on this day 87 years ago by the British, Naidu stood up to express his displeasure at the disruptions.

He said it was distressing that the Rajya Sabha has not discharged its mandate for three weeks. “People of the country have been let down.”

Naidu said he could understand that MPs may resort to disruption for a couple of days to press their issues but “persisting with it for three weeks has no justification”.

Congress members countered this by blaming the government for the stalemate, and alleged that it has not engaged the opposition parties.

The Chairman, however, went on to state that while some may cite past instances to justify the present impasse, the three-week long disruption had no justification.

“How long do you want to justify the present wrong based on past,” he said. “People of the country are aspiring for change. Should the change not begin from Rajya Sabha.”

He said people were asking why is the House not being adjourned sine die but added that it was not in his had to do so.

“I am pained… I am sad,” he said, adding he would not like to hazard a guess about what will happen in the House next week or “if you are going to change for better”.

People are deeply disturbed, he said. “If you are not interested in running of this House, it is another matter.”

When Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel read out the government agenda for next week, Naidu hoped the government will take the opposition into confidence to ensure the House functions.

Soon after listed papers were laid on the table of the House, placard-carrying members of Andhra and Tamil parties trooped into the Well and started shouting slogans. Congress members too joined them in the well.

Naidu said he was willing to allow discussion on any issue that the members want, but placards, demonstration and slogan shouting was not justified.

He then adjourned the proceedings till Monday.

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