The opposition continued to force adjournments of both Houses of Parliament for the third day over the Rs 12,600-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and other issues, even as a meeting of leaders of various parties with the Lok Sabha Speaker failed to find a solution to the impasse.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, who had convened the meeting, later hoped that the deadlock would be resolved in a day or two.
Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Bhartruhari Mahtab said after the meeting that the opposition parties have rejected the government’s proposal to hold a discussion under Rule 193 which does not entail voting.
“That has been rejected. The opposition is insisting on a discussion under an adjournment motion,” he said, adding that all recent bank scams should also be discussed during the debate.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters after the meeting that the government had accepted the Congress notice for discussion under Rule 193 but now it is “running away from debate”.
Kumar took a dig at the Congress over its objection to the words “over the years” in the motion to discuss the banking fraud and asked “what they have to hide”.
He said the ball is now in the opposition’s court.
“You gave notice, the Speaker accepted it and fixed time and then you want to change the entire stance. What is this? They will have to take Parliament seriously. The ball is in their court,” he said.
Kumar said the Congress never expected that the government will accept their notice so fast.
The Minister said that the Speaker urged the members to ensure smooth functioning of the House. She also insisted that members should not rush to the Speaker’s podium every time and display placards, he said.
There are many important issues, including banking fraud, which can be discussed only if the House functions properly, he added.
Mahajan told reporters that she had asked party leaders to find a solution to the impasse, as disruptions do not create a good impression among people and visitors about the proceedings.
“Let’s see … if not today, then in two-three days it will be resolved,” she said.
Asked about the Congress objection to the use of term “over the years” in the motion on banking fraud, Mahajan said it can mean one, two or more years.
Mahajan said she did not think it would have happened in one day and it was not just about a person or bank but about the system also.
She said all notices had been taken into account while finalising the motion.
Leaders of the Congress, Trinamool Congress, AIADMK, Aam Aadmi Party and the Shiv Sena were among those who taking part in the meeting.
Earlier, when the Lok Sabha met at 12 noon, after its first adjournment, opposition members were on their feet in the House with their demands. Many trooped near the Speaker’s podium carrying placards.
While the Congress and Trinamool Congress sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reply in the banking fraud case, BJP’s ally TDP continued to seek special economic package for Andhra Pradesh.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) members sought an increase in the job quota in the state beyond 50 per cent.
AIADMK members were near the podium demanding a Cauvery Management Board. Some of the placards had the demand for constituting the Board on one side and a picture of iconic Dravidian leader E.V. Ramasamy or Periyar on the other.
A statue of Periyar, who is considered the father figure of the rationalist movement in Tamil Nadu, was vandalised in Vellore district on Tuesday night.
Shiv Sena members wanted classical language status for Marathi but returned to their seats after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan allowed party MP Anandrao Adsul to speak on the issue.
Adsul said amid the din that the party had been raising the demand for declaring Marathi as a classical language for years.
“Marathi is an old language and meets the criteria of a classical language,” he said and sought a reply from Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
As the din continued, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day. Earlier, the House had witnessed an adjournment soon after it met for the day.
In the Rajya Sabha, the House was once again adjourned for the day amid ruckus and without transacting any business for the third day in a row.
Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien adjourned the House, minutes after it met at 2 p.m. as the agitating opposition members gathered near the Chair’s podium, shouting slogans and carrying placards. The TDP and AIADMK members were also raising their demands.
Kurien asked the members to go back to their seats so that he could take up the listed business.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel said in the din that the government was ready to discuss “all issues, including the PNB fraud case as it started only in their (UPA government) time”.
As the din continued, Kurien adjourned the House.
The upper House witnessed similar scenes in the morning forcing its adjournment till 2 p.m.
The Budget session will conclude on April 6. (IANS)