The odd-even rule enforced in Delhi figured in both houses of parliament on Monday — the first day of the new session — with members demanding that lawmakers be exempted even as a few MPs violated it inadvertently or simply walked to Parliament.
Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai, however, ruled out any more exemptions.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Uttar Pradesh unit chief Keshav Prasad Maurya, BJP MPs Chaudhry Babulal, Udit Raj, B.C. Khanduri and Prahlad Patel were among those who violated the scheme.
BJP MP and Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal was fined Rs.2,000 for travelling in an even-numbered car (DL9C AE1914) while going to parliament.
Rawal paid the fine and posted the challan receipt on his Twitter handle. “Made a serious blunder… sorry to Arvindji and Delhiites,” he tweeted, referring to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Anil Dave cycled to reach parliament while Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Bhagwant Mann carpooled with some MP colleagues.
The odd-even issue led to a ruckus in the Lok Sabha for a while.
Rajesh Ranjan, alias Pappu Yadav, who represents Madhepura in Bihar, said the measure had added to the people’s problems and helped compressed natural gas companies and bus manufacturers.
He alleged that the odd-even scheme had been launched by Kejriwal only for “cheap popularity”.
Bhagwant Mann was seen strongly protesting the remarks.
In the Rajya Sabha, Samajwadi Party member Naresh Agrawal raised the issue and said that MPs get one security pass, which is valid for one car only.
“They (Delhi government) did not exempt MPs (from the odd-even) on purpose to insult them,” he said.
Congress leader Anand Sharma said that most MPs were from outside Delhi.
“Vehicles without security label cannot enter, and the parliament bus is not able to ferry all MPs. It (odd-even) is coming in the way of discharging their duties,” Sharma added.
Janata Dal-United (JD-U) member K.C. Tyagi said while the intention of the Delhi government is good, “they should exempt MPs”.
Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said it is the government’s duty to facilitate discharge of duties of parliament.
Leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said he had received complaints from MPs and suggested that parliamentarians may be exempted from the odd-even scheme when parliament is in session.
Responding to the issue, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government will talk to the appropriate authorities.
Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai met Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari in the evening and apprised him about the Delhi government arranging six special buses on Monday to ferry the lawmakers.
“Ansari-ji told us that there are many MPs who live far from here. We have demanded a list of such MPs,” Rai said, adding that arrangements will be made to ferry them.
Rai made it clear that there will be no change in the odd-even notification and MPs will not be given exemption.
“Only four days are left for phase II of odd-even to end, so MPs won’t be exempted,” he said.
Rai appealed to the MPs to follow the scheme.
Meanwhile, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said that particulate matter pollution (PM 2.5) rose from 81.2 on Saturday to 107.3 on Monday.
The corresponding figure for PM 10 level was 164.2 and 198.5, it said.
The second phase of the odd-even scheme will continue till April 30. The first phase was conducted between January 1 and 15.