Gujarat gas deal rocks Parliament

With just eight days left for the assembly polls in Gujarat, Congress MPs on Tuesday created ruckus in both Houses of Parliament over a news-magazine’s report on alleged irregularities by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi over a gas deal.

The news magazine carried a report titled “Sweet Deals are made of Gas”, making allegations of irregularities in a March 2003 deal between the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, a PSU owned by the state government, and a company that was incorporated in Barbados with a capital of just $ 64.

The deal had purportedly created a Joint Venture and given the private company 10 per cent stake in the Krishna-Godavari Basin gas fields, allegedly without calling for a tender and virtually for nothing.

Congress MPs in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha waved copies of the  magazine from the aisles of both Houses and shouted slogans criticising Modi and his government. BJP members, too, were on their feet to counter the attack on Modi, whom the party’s senior leader Sushma Swaraj recently described as the one fit to be the next Prime Minister of India.

In the Lok Sabha, veteran BJP leader L K Advani was seen trying to calm down party MPs as both sides engaged in war of words. Amid pandemonium, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House till 12:30 pm.

But Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam again raised the issue during Zero Hour and demanded a CBI inquiry into the alleged scam amid noisy interruptions by BJP members. The House had to be adjourned again till 2 pm.

Ruckus over the gas deal also led to two adjournments in the Rajya Sabha, before it was finally adjourned for the day. Other issues which rocked the Upper House also included quota in promotions for SC/ST and arrest of Muslim youths in allegedly false terror cases.

The Samajwadi Party MPs raised the issues and trooped into the Well of the House several times forcing adjournment till 2 pm. Pandemonium continued even after the Rajya Sabha reassembled and the Chairman, left with no option, adjourned the House for the day.

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