RS logjam ends after one week

Uproar over Jyoti's comments dies down as parties reach consensus

RS logjam ends after one week

The week-long logjam between the government and Opposition in the Rajya Sabha over Union Minister Niranjan Jyoti’s controversial statements finally ended on Monday with the chairman appealing to all members to maintain civility at all times.

“The House, while acknowledging the statement the prime minister made in this House on December 4, appeals to all members of the Parliament, ministers and leaders of all political parties to maintain civility at all costs in public discourse for the successful functioning of parliamentary democracy and to uphold our commitment to constitutional values,” Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari said.

The statement—agreed upon by all parties—brought curtains on the impasse in the Upper House last week, where the introduction and passing of several legislation were blocked. Four bills could not be taken up amid the uproar, while discussions on the agrarian crisis and WTO talks were suspended.

One of the pending bills—Textiles Undertakings (Nationalisation) Laws (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2014,—was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

The other three bills on the to-do list are: The Constitution Scheduled Castes Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2014, The Central Universities Bill, 2014, and The School of Planning and Architecture Bill, 2014, that have already been passed by the Lok Sabha this session.

“The Upper House now will have to sit for extra hours to clear the backlog,” said a senior minister. The treasury and Opposition benches were on the warpath in the past week in the wake of Jyoti’s contentious comments at a public rally in Delhi. The government was on a back foot in the Rajya Sabha, where the BJP is minority.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said on December 4 in Parliament: “You all know that the moment I got information about the statement, which has caused the controversy, we had the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting, where I very strongly disapproved the remarks.”

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