RS sees high drama over extension of Winter Session

RS sees high drama over extension of Winter Session

The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday afternoon witnessed high drama after it was adjourned for the day, as the Opposition held "proceedings" inside the House objecting to the way the sitting of the Winter Session was extended by one day.

The Upper House was to adjourn sine die on Tuesday but it was extended by a day by Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on government's request though Opposition parties were not in agreement with it, sources said. The government intends to bring the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the bill to amend the Constitution to allow 10% quota for economically weaker sections.

More than the decision, sources said, Opposition parties questioned why there was no announcement made about the extension of the House as it should be done. Opposition leaders claimed Deputy Chairman Harivansh adjourned the House till Wednesday morning without announcing the decision to extend the session.

"Usually, the House is informed about such decisions. However, this time there was no such thing. In the afternoon around 3:30 pm, the deputy chairman adjourned the House for the day after repeated disruptions over issues," a senior Opposition leader said.

However, Opposition MPs did not leave the House and there were suggestions that they should continue to sit in. Then Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad suggested that if they are staying back, they should be in their seats.

"We then ran the House for some time. There were speeches by 3-4 MPs," the leader said. Congress' Viplava Thakore was the first to speak, sources said adding she highlighted how procedures were not followed.

Trinamool Congress' Sukhendu Shekhar Roy was quoted as saying, "where was the announcement. How can the chair adjourn the House for tomorrow without informing the House." Congress' Jairam Ramesh said, "we must be united in these times. We should be united for a long time."

As the MPs were winding up, NCP MP Praful Patel suggested that they should take their protest to the Gandhi Statue in Parliament where Opposition MPs then gathered. From Azad to other senior leaders, the Opposition MPs staged a protest and shouted slogans against the government.

In the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of Rajya Sabha meeting in the morning, sources said Opposition leaders objected to the government proposal to extend the session. However, sources said Naidu decided to extend the session.

"We do not have a problem with the extension per se. However, the government was not running the House for the past 15 days and on the last day, they want to extend it by one day. Why is that," Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien said.

During the BAC meeting of Lok Sabha on Monday, the government had proposed the extension of the Lower House too but Opposition did not budge there too. There was no decision on an extension in the Lok Sabha as it rushed to pass the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the Constitution Amendment Bill.