The Monsoon session of Parliament had a stormy start, with the opposition forcing a washout on Tuesday by creating pandemonium over various issues and an angry BSP chief Mayawati declaring that she would resign from the Rajya Sabha for not being allowed to speak on the dalit issue.
Members from parties like the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Left parties and the RJD created uproar in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha as soon as the Houses met for the day.
Due to the ruckus, the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day minutes after noon following one adjournment earlier while the Rajya Sabha was adjourned repeatedly till 3 pm and then for the day, without transacting any business. Though the Monsoon session began yesterday, today was the first working day as yesterday, both the Houses were adjourned, without transacting any business, after obituary references to the department MPs.
On Tuesday, the opposition members wanted to raise issues like “atrocities” against dalits, violent incidents involving cow vigilantes and the plight of farmers.
In the Rajya Sabha, as soon as the House assembled for the day, Mayawati raised the issue of violence against dalits against the backdrop of riots in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh sometime back. While she was speaking, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked her to wrap up as she had exceeded the three-minute duration set for each member during the Zero Hour.
At this, Mayawati got angry and asked how she could be prevented from raising the issue about her ‘samaj’ (community) and the dalits. “I have not finished. You cannot do this,” she said. In anger, she went on to add, “I will resign from Rajya Sabha today… I have no moral right to be in the House if I am not allowed to put across my views on atrocities being committed against dalits.”
By the evening, the BSP chief sent in her resignation to the Rajya Sabha Chairman. Mayawati’s term in the Upper House was till April next year. Kurien asked her not to make a full-fledged speech and she can seek a discussion after giving a notice under Rule 267 that seeks adjournment of proceedings to take up an issue.
A discussion can begin only after the Chair, on the advise of the government, accepts the notice and agrees for a discussion. Kurien rose from his seat in an attempt to calm her down but Mayawati refused to agree saying she has no right to be in the House if she cannot protect the rights of her community. “I am going to resign from the house,” she said and walked out of the House in a huff.
Her party colleagues led by Satish Mishra followed her but were back in the House soon to raise slogans against the alleged anti-Dalit policies of the government.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Mayawati was challenging the Chair. “She should apologise. She has threatened the Chair,” he said.
BSP members immediately rushed into the Well, shouting slogans against the government. Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad briefly prevailed over them to allow him to make his submission.
Azad said the government, at an all-party meeting before the start of the Monsoon Session, had agreed to discuss any issue that the opposition wants to raise in the house.
“Promise was made to us in the presence of the Prime Minister. You are going against that,” he said.
He said the Opposition led by Congress has given notices to discuss crisis facing farmers, anti-Dalit violence and lynching of minorities. Responding to the barbs of the treasury benches to respect the people’s mandate, Azad said the government has got a mandate to protect the Dalits and minorities and for development.
“You didn’t get a mandate to massacre minorities and dalits,” he said, before leading a walkout by the Congress. Soon thereafter, BSP members were back in the Well, shouting anti-government slogans.
Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said the government policies were pushing farmers to suicide. Naqvi said the government was ready for discussion on any issue and the opposition should give a notice.
Kurien said the government was agreeing to having a discussion, so the opposition members should return to their seats and start it.
“Shouting slogan is no soluition. We can discuss. The Chair is ready to allow discussion on all subjects. Let us start,” he said. But the opposition members remained unrelenting, forcing him to adjourn the proceedings till 1200 hours.
Earlier, Mayawati while elaborating on the incidents in Saharanpur, said the Dalits had agreed to the district administration’s order not to take out any procession or install a statue of Bhim Rao Ambedkar on April 14. But the followers of Maharana Pratap however took out a procession on May 5, she said.
Before she could complete, Kurien asked her to sit and called the next speaker, saying “you cannot monopolise”, angering Mayawati.
No sooner that the House reassembled at noon, slogan shouting Congress members trooped into the Well. They were followed by the members of Trinamool Congress and others.
Amid slogan shouting by members of Congress and other parties, Chairman Hamid Ansari called for taking up the Question Hour. TMC member Derek O’Brien tried to speak but could not be heard amidst the noisy scenes. Some members of the AIADMK too rushed into the Well as other opposition party members were on their feet.
The continued sloganeering forced the Chairman to adjourn the House till 1400 hrs.
Similar scenes were witnessed when the House re-assembled at 1400 hours, leading to its adjournment till 1500 hours. As the protests continued, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar challenged the opposition members to a discussion, asking why they were running away from it.
However, as the uproar continued, the House was adjourned till tomorrow. In the Lok Sabha, the opposition wanted to raise cow vigilantism, the plight of farmers and various other issues.
Being disallowed, members from the Congress, RJD, TMC and the Left, among others, then trooped into Well. Many were shouting slogans and also displaying placards. The House was first adjourned after 15 minutes into Question Hour till noon as the bedlam continued.
As the House re-assembled after the adjournment during Question Hour, the opposition members again trooped into the Well raising anti-government slogans. In the din, as many as three bills, including the Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy Bill, were introduced. Besides, reports of various parliamentary committees were tabled before Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the proceedings for the day.
One of the opposition placards read, “Gau mata toh bahana hai, karz maafi se dhyan hatana hai (Cow protection is a tool to divert attention from farm loan waiver)”. “Vijay Mallya ko bhagaya, kisano ko rulaya (Vijay Mallya was allowed to leave, while farmers were made to cry),” read another placard.
BJP members from Karnataka were also seen holding placards and standing at their benches asking the state government to protect honest officers. They were referring to the recent transfer of DIG (Prisons) D Roopa, who had reportedly exposed that AIADMK leader Sasikala Natrajan was provided special facilities and services inside prison.