LS adjourned after protests over price rise

LS adjourned after protests over price rise

The lower house was adjourned till 11.30 am soon after it assembled, as members of the Left parties, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), AIADMK and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) demanded that the Question Hour be suspended and the price rise be discussed.

CPI-M leader Basudeb Acharya said: "we want Question Hour to be suspended." Speaker Meira Kumar, however, rejected his demand.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said: "The government is prepared for a structured discussion on the issue anytime but today the list is prepared for a discussion on the drought issue."

He also said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is to clarify the India-Pakistan joint statement in parliament on Wednesday.

But Acharya again demanded that Question Hour be suspended and protesting MPs then marched towards the speaker's podium. Kumar pacified them and sent them back to their seats but they raised anti-government slogans and there was a heated exchange of words between the protesting MPs and Congress leaders in the Treasury benches.

The speaker then adjourned the house till 11.30 a.m.

Earlier in the morning, several MPs of the opposition parties staged a sit-in at the main gate of Parliament House, protesting the spiralling rise in prices of essential commodities.

The sit-in was led by RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Communist Party of India-Marixist (CPI-M) leaders Brinda Karat and Sitaram Yechury and CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta. They raised slogans against the Manmohan Singh government for its failure to check rising prices.

Lalu Prasad said: "The RJD, Left parties, TDP and BJD -- we all together will hold a 'chakka jam' (roadblock) in the entire country to protest the increase in prices of essential commodities."

Asked why he was agitating against the government that has the support of his RJD, Lalu Prasad said: "This is the issue of the people and we are together in fighting for the cause of the people."

Said Yechury: "We all held a dharna (sit-in) at parliament building's main gate under the leadership of Lalu-ji and our main demand is to strengthen the public distribution system. We will raise the issue in both houses of parliament. It should be discussed in parliament."


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