Parliament Disrupted For 12th Day Over Coal Block Allocations
New Delhi: Parliament was repeatedly disrupted for the 12th day Thursday and adjourned as the BJP continued its protest over coal blocks allocations and the Samajwadi Party kept up its opposition to the bill on quota in promotions for Dalits and tribals.
While the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day shortly after noon, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned a little after 2 p.m. after an unsuccessful attempt by the government to take up the reservation quota bill.
With the parliament non-functional, the war of words between the Congress and the opposition continued outside.
Denying the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) allegation that the quota bill was brought to divert attention from the coal blocks issue, the Congress accused the opposition party of denigrating parliament.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, meanwhile, claimed both the Congress and the BJP were against the bill.
The BJP, which has not allowed parliament to function for the past two weeks, kept on its demand for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation over the controversial coal blocks allocation in which private players had windfall gain worth Rs 1.85 lakh crore, according to a CAG report. “We have said that the prime minister should resign first and then we will discuss other things,” said BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi.
The Congress hit back at the BJP. “The BJP is denigrating parliament. It does not want a debate in either parliament or the Public Accounts Committee. It should put nation first and lust for power later,” Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde met leaders of the opposition in an effort to break the logjam. “I have met the leaders of opposition, asking them to let the house run so that important bills can be passed,” Shinde told reporters.
In response to eight “uncomfortable” questions asked by the Congress Wednesday, the BJP came out with seven counter posers and demanded a probe into the money trail involved in the allocation of coal mines.
BJP’s Prakash Javadekar said the party led National Democratic Alliance members will stage a sit in protest in front of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi inside the parliament complex on Friday.
On the other hand, Sibal targeted the BJP-ruled states and said they had opposed auction of coal mines saying it would destroy local industry. “In fact, the BJP governments (Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan) had sent recommendations to the centre in favour of specific companies for allocation of coal blocks,” he said.
Sibal also said the BJP was avoiding a debate as it would expose the opposition party’s stand on corruption issue and mar its prospects in the coming Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
Earlier, both houses observed a minute’s silence in remembrance of those killed in a blaze in a firecracker unit in Tamil Nadu’s Sivakasi town that killed 38 people.
The trouble began soon after that.
In the Rajya Sabha, BJP members picked up their chant demanding the resignation of Manmohan Singh over coal block allocations, while SP members protested over the reservation quota bill.
The Rajya Sabha was first adjourned till noon and then till 2 p.m. BJP members stood in their seats, shouting slogans about the alleged coal scam. SP members, meanwhile, trooped near the chairman’s podium shouting slogans like “Promotion mein arakshan nahi chalega” (reservation in promotion will not be accepted).
Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien’s repeated pleas to maintain order fell on deaf ears.
“Please maintain order in the house, this is a constitutional amendment bill,” the chair said. As the din continued, Kurien adjourned the house for the day. Similar scenes were witnessed in the Lok Sabha, which was adjourned for the day at noon.
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