RS logjam continues as govt, Oppn stick to stand

Parties not satisfied with home minister's offer

RS logjam continues as govt, Oppn stick to stand

The deadlock in the Rajya Sabha seems to have no end in sight with both the government and opposition on Thursday unrelenting from their stand on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reply on a debate on religious conversions.

While the proceedings of Rajya Sabha were stalled for the fourth consecutive day, the government refused to accede to the opposition demand for Modi’s reply. The prime minister was in Rajya Sabha for about an hour after the Question Hour started, as it is a day when questions related to the portfolios held by the prime minister are listed for reply.

The day also witnessed angry exchanges with each side accusing the other of arrogance. Opposition did not let the debate get going even as Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he will reply to them and, if necessary, Modi might intervene. As the din continued during the morning session, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley chided the opposition: “If the fact is that out of two Houses, one (Lok Sabha) is functioning normally and the other is not being allowed to function normally, then, it is the arrogance of numbers and not the arrogance of the government.”

To this, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury retorted, “I want to tell the Leader of the House (Jaitley)...if he is accusing us saying, ‘arrogance of numbers’, I would say, the other House is functioning because of the tyranny of majority.”

Jaitley said the government was ready to debate the issue immediately but asserted that Opposition cannot dictate who will reply from the government side and what will be the terms and conditions. Ruling out a reply by the prime minister, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said as per the rules the home minister will reply after the debate.

When the House reassembled at 2 pm after the adjournment an hour earlier, it again witnessed protests, as the prime minister was not present. Then a motion moved by CPM MP P Rajeeve for starting the debate was adopted but his insistence on the presence of Modi led to a heated exchange of words.

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