The acquittal of all 2G telecom spectrum allocation scam accused today found echo in the Rajya Sabha, with the Opposition Congress disrupting proceedings demanding an explanation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Congress members shouted slogans, drowning the voices of other members and forcing Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to adjourn the proceedings till 2 PM, but not before threatening to invoke rules against them and rapping them for their unruly behaviour. Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad sought an explanation from Modi for the “false propaganda” on the 2G scam to come to power in 2014. Congress, he said, has been since the past week seeking an explanation from the Prime Minister over “false” allegations he made against his predecessor Manmohan Singh during the Gujarat elections.
Today, after the acquittal of all the accused, “we want to ask where did all the allegations (of scam) go,” he said. The BJP had run a propaganda on the 2G spectrum allocation that helped it “move from that side (opposition side in Rajya Sabha) to this side (ruling side) and us from that side (ruling side) to this side (opposition benches),” Azad said. Naidu said he was not allowing Azad’s submission as he had not given any notice, as he asked members to return to their seats. He also said “nothing will go on record”. But Congress members were in no mood to listen and rushed to the Well raising slogans against Modi and the BJP. Naidu then cited a May 22, 1990 ruling of then Rajya Sabha Chairman Shankar Dayal Sharma that the Chair’s ruling on not allowing suspension of a Question Hour or allowing a discussion is final. “Democracy means working according to rules (and) not shouting,” he said.
Stating that he is willing to use his discretion to allow serious matters to be raised, Naidu said “some people have developed the habit of giving notices under rule 267 and then disrupting proceedings.” Notice under rule 267 calls for setting aside of the listed business of the day to take up the issue being raised. As some slogan-shouting Congress members moved in front of the ruling benches, Naidu castigated them for moving from the opposition side to the treasury side of the Well. At the persuasion of Azad, the Congress members left the Well and returned to their seats but kept raising slogans, drowning the voices of members whom the Chair had called to raise Zero Hour issues. Naidu went on to rap the Congress members for the unruly behaviour, saying “3/4ths of the House wants to take up Zero Hour issues”.
“Please follow some decorum. I condemn your behaviour,” he said, adding “I will have to think about invoking rules. Don’t force me to do that. The whole country is watching your behaviour.” When deputy leader of the Congress Anand Sharma tried to raise a point, Naidu snapped back at him saying it was not good for a deputy leader of the party to defy the Chair. As the Congress members continued to shout slogan, Naidu went on to state that it was not the right tradition to take the names of the Prime Minister, former Prime Minister or political parties.
With Congress members remaining unrelenting, he adjourned the proceedings till 2 pm. Normally, the chair in case of disruptions in the first hour of the sitting, adjourns proceedings till 1200 hours. But when Naidu adjourned the proceedings till 2 pm, members were surprised.
Thursday, being the Question day for the Prime Minister’s Office, Modi was expected to be present during Question Hour slated at noon.
Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was seen asking the Rajya Sabha officials if he has indeed adjourned the proceedings till 2 pm.