Sushma says ready for debate on any issue, Cong insists on PM's presence

Sushma says ready for debate on any issue, Cong insists on PM's presence

Sushma says ready for debate on any issue, Cong insists on PM's presence
Signs of a thaw emerged in Lok Sabha with the government accepting Opposition demand to discuss an adjournment motion on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's alleged role in Lalit Modi controversy.

Swaraj herself requested Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to accept the Opposition demand soon after the House assembled for the day, the penultimate day of the Monsoon Session which has remained stalled over Congress protests on the Lalit Modi and Vyapam issues.

The External Affairs Minister's request prompted Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu to tell the House that the government was ready to discuss the issue under an adjournment motion, a matter which was not acceptable to it so far.

As the Opposition began their protests, Swaraj requested the Speaker to accept the notice of adjournment motion given by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge that was related to her.

Making an earnest appeal, Swaraj said the adjournment motion should be "accepted as it is". Let only the Opposition participate in the debate and no one from the government would be part of it, she said.

"My only request is that the Opposition should be present in the House when I give the reply," Swaraj said. However, Kharge insisted that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be present during the debate and should reply.

How can action be taken against the Minister without the Prime Minister being present and answering to the debate, he wondered.

Amid the protests in the Well, Naidu said that yesterday, the Opposition had called for taking up the matter on priority basis. The government has no problem in discussing the adjournment motion, he said and urged the agitating members to return to their seats.

Congress and Left members were protesting in the Well holding placards were heard shouting slogans like 'we want resignation' and 'we want justice'.

Reacting to this, Naidu wondered, "what is justice" when about 20 people keep shouting in the Well.

Noting that adjournment motion could be taken up only on the basis of procedures since she has rejected it, Mahajan said it would be discussed only after the Question Hour.

"I have no objection to the adjournment motion... But there is no rule to suspend Question Hour," she said.

As the protests continued, a visibly peeved Mahajan said "Is this (order) .... someone is standing and someone is talking".

Kharge said they do not want to challenge the Speaker's authority but the matter should be discussed under an adjournment motion which has weightage.

With the protests continuing, Mahajan reminded the members not to raise unnecessary issues.

Earlier, the House stood in silence for a brief while as a mark of respect for two former members -- Baleswhar Ram and Jagannath Singh -- who passed away recently.