Opposition Congress today forced a brief adjournment of proceedings in Rajya Sabha alleging that the Gujarat police was kidnapping and threatening its MLAs in the state with a view to influence their votes in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls. Congress members trooped in to the Well of the House raising anti-government slogans, which were matched by counter-sloganeering by the BJP benches. Amid pandemonium, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien adjourned the proceedings for 10 minutes during the Zero Hour soon after it met in the morning. Raising the issue, Madhusudhan Mistry (Cong) alleged that his party MLAs were being “kidnapped” and offered “Rs 10-15 crore” with a view to influence their vote in the August 8 elections to send three members from the state to the Rajya Sabha.
Ruling BJP has fielded three members including party president Amit Shah, union minister Smriti Irani and a rebel Congress MLA for the election. Ahmed Patel, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political adviser, is seeking re-election.
Kurien said he was not allowing Mistry’s notice under rule 267 seeking setting aside of the business to take up the issue as the same matter was raised on Friday as well.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi charged the Congress with “kidnapping” its own MLAs and lodging them in a holiday resort in Karnataka at a time when the people of Gujarat were facing miseries from flash floods. “You should be ashamed,” he said, daring the Congress party to debate the matter in the House. As slogan-shouting Congress members entered the Well, some BJP members moved into the aisles and raised counter slogans.
Kurien said he was forced to adjourn the proceedings in Friday as members from both side had come into the Well. He said he has heard Naqvi say that the government was ready for a discussion. “If you want discussion, give separate notice. We will consider it,” he said.
Congress members were unmoved but that did not prevent him from calling members to raise their Zero Hour mentions. “If you have something against the government, why do you obstruct other members,” Kurien said adding that Zero Hour was members’ business and their rights are being obstructed. “By slogan shouting, you will achieve nothing,” he said.
In the melee, A K Selvaraj (AIADMK) raised the issue of hydrocarbon exploration in Tamil Nadu and asked the government to cease all such activities as it would impact ground water table and crops. S Muthukaruppan (AIADMK) sought the government’s intervention for the release of 75 Tamil fishermen and their fishing boats from Sri Lankan captivity. But Congress members remained unrelenting and continued to raise slogans, forcing Kurien to adjourn the proceedings for 10 minutes.