Budget Session of Parliament Day 1: Opposition targets Narendra Modi govt over price rise

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 7 2014, 20:57pm hrs
ParliamentThe Budget session of Parliament begins on July 7 and ends on August 14.
The Budget session of Parliament today got off to a stormy start with the first day in Lok Sabha being virtually washed out on the issue of price rise and rail fare hike as a strident Opposition insisted on a discussion under an adjournment motion.

The House managed to take up just two questions amid uproar created by members of Congress, Trinamool Congress, RJD, SP, Aam Aadmi Party and the Left as they trooped into the Well raising the issues of price rise and rail fare hike.

The Opposition wanted discussion under adjournment motion but Speaker Sumitra Mahajan rejected it, saying a debate could be taken up under Rule 193 that does not entail voting.

While Congress wanted discussion on price rise, Trinamool Congress pressed for debate on rail fare hike under adjournment motion which requires voting and amounts to censure of the government if it is passed.

The House was adjourned twice till 1400 hours before being adjourned for the day as the deadlock persisted over the Rule under which a discussion could be taken up.

Sharing concern over the price rise, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the government was ready to discuss the matter immediately and left it to the Speaker to decide under which Rule it should be done.

Mahajan said she had rejected notices for adjournment motion but accepted six notices for discussion under Rule 193. She even called P Karunakaran (CPI-M) to initiate the discussion.

However, Congress and some other Opposition parties insisted that the discussion should be held under the adjournment motion.

When the House met at 1400 hours, Deputy Leader of Congress Amarinder Singh said people were starving and "food prices are rising at terrible levels...how can common man survive We don't want only a discussion but an answer from the government. We want voting in the House because it is an important issue".

Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia mentioned that Rajya Sabha has allowed discussion on the issue of price rise, but Mahajan said matters of the other House cannot be discussed in the Lok Sabha.

Amid uproar, the Speaker was heard saying that members were not interested in discussing issues of the poor.

"I am sorry, if you don't want to discuss (price rise) I am adjourning the House," Mahajan said and adjourned the House for the day at around 1410 hours.

Earlier, Mahajan's repeated pleas to allow the questions to be taken up went unheeded as Opposition members continued slogan shouting against hike in prices of food as well as petrol, diesel and LPG besides rail fare hike.

When the protests began soon after the House assembled for the day, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was seen standing in the aisle as his colleagues were in the Well.

Slogans like "achha din ayega, mahangai badhayega (good days will come, prices will rise)" and 'roll back rail fare hike' were heard in the House.

Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) members were also in the Well opposing the ordinance on the Polavaram project.

Earlier, when the House met for the day trouble arose with opposition members trooping into the Well.

Mahajan's repeated pleas to allow the questions to be taken up went unheeded, leading to adjournment of the House for nearly 40 minutes till noon. When the House re-assembled, similar scenes were witnessed and it was again adjourned till 1400 hours.


Slamming BJP government for spurt in prices of essential commodities during its 45-day rule, Opposition Congress took potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for riding to power on promise of controlling inflation yet doing nothing on it.

Speaking on the issue in the Rajya Sabha after his demand for suspension of Question Hour to discuss price rise was accepted by the ruling party, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the one-and-half-month rule of BJP government has seen all round rise in prices of vegetables and fruits.

Since coming to power, the BJP-led government has raised rail passenger fares and freight charges besides hiking petrol, diesel and LPG rates that have cascading impact on prices of other commodities, the Congress leader said.

Azad said when in 2012 the UPA government had raised rail fares before the railway budget, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat had written to the Prime Minister opposing such adjustments prior to presentation of the Rail Budget and had demanded its rollback.

"In two years what has changed" that the BJP government raised not just passenger fares but also freight days ahead of the Railway budget, he said, pointing out that fares and freight have been raised by a steep 14-16 per cent.

BJP and Modi's 6-month election campaign was centered around price rise and Congress and UPA leadership was criticised for being oblivious to the plight of poor, he said.

"If Congress did not know poverty and if BJP leaders had better knowledge, then why did they provide for back breaking prices rise in one-and-half-months," he asked.

Azad demanded immediate rollback in rail fares as well as the hike in diesel, petrol and LPG rates.

He said the UPA had initiated landmark measures like the MNREGA and Food Security Bill to help poor.

"Did we not spend money on infrastructure in 10 years," he said, pointing to new airports that came up in Delhi, Mumbai and other places as well as roads and highways, schools and universities built in various parts of the country.

"Even during world economic crisis, we did not stop spending on infrastructure," he said, adding the BJP rule has seen "chaumukhi mahangi (all round price rise)."

Opposition JD(U) also slammed the BJP for making empty promises on controlling price rise.

Earlier, soon after new members took oath and Chairman Hamid Ansari read out obituary reference, members in the Opposition benches were up on their feet demanding discussion on price rise.

On being allowed by Ansari to speak, Azad said his party has given a notice for suspension of Question Hour and taking up discussion on price rise.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government was open to discussion on the issue.

"We have absolutely no difficulty... you may start the discussion right now," Jaitley said after which Ansari called Azad to initiate discussion on price rise and inflation.