Demands for Gadkari's resignation disrupt Rajya Sabha

Demands for Gadkari's resignation disrupt Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha witnessed a ruckus on Friday as opposition parties led by Congress demanded resignation of Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari for alleged irregularities in a company owned by him.

A report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has named Gadkari as one of the "promoters and/or directors" of Purti Sakhar Karkhana Ltd. that was sanctioned a loan of Rs. 84.12 crore by the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) in violation of guidelines.

The issue was raised during zero hour by Congress MP Shantaram Naik, who said the minister must resign.

"Opposition parties demanded resignation of our ministers time to time... now Nitin Gadkari has to resign," said Naik.

Congress MP Anand Sharma said the government was accountable on the issue.
"This is a serious matter...the present ruling party when they were in opposition would stall the house until the action was taken... I am saying on behalf of opposition this issue cannot be confined to zero hour, there should be accountability," said Sharma.

Congress members then started raising slogans demanding the minister's resignation.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the allegations were "baseless".

"Congress party has become a confused party... these allegations are baseless," he said.

In the din, Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien adjourned the house for 10 minutes.
When the house reassembled, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad again raised the issue.

"This is not a question of allegation against a member; it is a CAG report... On CAG reports on earlier occasions number of heads have rolled. The BJP government inside and outside house is talking about transparency and corruption. Also in the same breath it is talking about stains (of corruption) during UPA government. Here there is a proven case against a minister who had to resign because of the same reason as president of BJP... the party may maintain he did not resign... He has been indicted he cannot continue as minister even for a day," said Azad.

The ruckus continued despite several pleas from the chair and the house saw another brief adjournment before question hour.

The scene was no different in the question hour and Chairman M. Hamid Ansari adjourned the house for 10 minutes, then for 15 minutes, and finally till 2.30 p.m.

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