Combative Congress disrupts Parliament

Combative Congress disrupts Parliament

Combative Congress members, upset over the National Herald case, today paralysed Parliament protesting against alleged "vendetta politics" leading to repeated adjournments in the Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha.

No sooner had both the Houses assembled for the day, Congress members stormed the Well, shouting slogans against the government and refusing to heed to the Chair's repeated pleas that they return to their seats and raise the issue.

While no Congress member specified the issue agitating them, their vociferous protests came a day after the Delhi High Court, in a blow to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, declined to give them any relief in the National Herald case, asking them to appear before the trial court.

The court today, however, allowed their exemption pleas for the day, but directed them to appear in person on December 19.

"Down with dictatorship... Vendetta politics won't work," the Congress members shouted in Lok Sabha with party chief Sonia Gandhi looking on.

With proceeding being disrupted, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy took a dig at them, wondering what had happened in a day that shook the Congress members so much.

"Nation wants to hear what their issue is. Nobody knows it. We are ready to hear. Let them go to their seats and raise it," he said but the agitating members refused to budge.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan chided them time and again and continued with the Question Hour amidst the uproar.

"I am ready to allow you to speak but I don't know what your issue is. Someone tell me what is your issue," she said.

It was a similar story in the Upper House which saw repeated adjournments over the protests by Congress members.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned the first time for about 25 minutes soon after it assembled at 1100 hours. When it reconvened at 1130 hours, Congress members again trooped int the Well raising slogans like 'politics of vendetta won't be tolerated', 'we will fight for our rights' and 'we are neither scared nor will we get bogged down'.

Despite repeated demands by the Speaker to clarify the issue they were seeking to raise, Congress members did not respond and continued to shout slogans.

BJD members, wanting to raise the issue of Pollavaram project, also rushed to the Well. They later returned when the Chair assured them that they would be allowed to do so in the Zero Hour.

As the Question Hour continued amid bedlam, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the House as well as the government were eager to listen to Congress members, but they will have to return to their seats and raise the issue. "Neither you (Speaker), nor the members are aware of the issue they want to raise," Rudy said.

Amid din, the House was adjourned till 2 PM around noon after laying of papers by ministers and tabling of reports of Parliamentary Standing Committees.

Similar scenes were witnessed in Rajya Sabha, which adjourned four times and finally till 2 PM.

As Congress members continued raising slogans like "dictatorship will not be allowed", members in the treasury benches countered them and hit back with slogans like "chor machaye shor" (thieves making noise).

Chairman Hamid Ansari's repeated pleas to allow the Question Hour to function remained unheard after which he adjourned the House till 12:30 PM.

When the House reasssembled, the Congress members again stormed the well raising slogans.

Ansari's pleas to allow the Question Hour to function fell on deaf ears as the protesting members continued with their sloganeering. He then adjourned the House till 2 PM.

Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha saw similar protests when they re-assembled at 2 pm, forcing adjournment till 3 pm.

When the Lok Sabha met at 2 pm, Congress members, aggressively guided by Sonia Gandhi, continued to raise slogans while Deputy Speaker Thambidurai wanted to take up discussion on drought situation in the country.

Several Congress members were in the Well raising slogans against the government like 'Zulm ki sarkar bandh karo' (Stop the atrocities), 'Tanashahi nahi chalegi' (dictatorship will not work).

Thambidurai asked them to spell out the issue over which they were protesting.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy also questioned why the Congress members were agitated and sloganeering.

Rudy said he was "surprised and shocked" over the attitude of Congress members when the House wanted to discuss the condition of farmers affected by drought.

Amid the din, he said he had tried to talk to leaders of various parties to see how House could function normally but Gandhi had "obstructed" this.

Gandhi was seen aggressively confabulating with members of her party as well as some other parties, like Trinamool Congress and AAP.

She was apparently seeking support for her party's protest but Trinamool Congress was non-committal.

While slogan-shouting was continuing, A P Jithender Reddy (TRS) and Prem Singh Chandumajhra (SAD) said they wanted discussion on drought under Rule 193 as farmers were suffering.

Rudy said: "This is unfortunate for the country that Congress is not allowing discussion on an issue which concerns farmers... I think they are raising slogans for some court verdict (apparent reference to Herald case) which has happened outside this House. The court case has been going on for years, it is a judicial process".

Law Minister Sadananda Gowda said it was undemocratic to stall the House.

"Whether as government, can we dictate the terms to judges? Some personal vendatta is brought inside the House. The drought discussion is in larger interest of the people of the country," Gowda said. 

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