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Parliament deadlocked for 2nd day, BJP demands PM's ouster

India TV News Desk 23 Sep 2012, 16:29:31 IST
India TV News Desk
New Delhi, Aug 22:  Parliament was paralysed for the second day running with non-Left Opposition today pressing for resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the wake of the CAG report on the coal block allocation.

Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha witnessed tumultuous scenes with Opposition members targeting the ruling Congress by alleging corruption in the allocation, in which the CAG has spoken of Rs 1.86 lakh crore “undue benefit” to private firms.  Lok Sabha was adjourned twice and Rajya Sabha thrice till 2 PM.

“Koyle ki dalali hai, sari Congress kali hai” (there is a scam in coal allocation, the entire Congress is black) and ‘Pradhan Mantri gaddi chhoro' (PM quit) were some of the slogans that rent the air in the two Houses.

Congress members countered the Opposition attack by hailing the Prime Minister, who was not present in either House.

Members of BJP, Shiv Sena, JD-U, TDP, BJD as also AIADMK trooped into the Well of the Lower House.

Left members were also on their feet protesting on the same issue, seeking a statement from the Prime Minister on the coal block allocation but not his resignation.

In the Rajya Sabha, NDA members were on their feet raising slogans. They were countered by those from the treasury benches.

In both Houses, government said it was ready for discussion on the issue. Minister of State in PMO V Narayanasamy said in Lok Sabha that the opposition should not run away from discussion. A similar remark was made by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla in the Upper House.

In the Lok Sabha, NDA convener and JD-U chief Sharad Yadav and BJP leader Rajnath Singh were seen holding consultations with SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The JD-U president also seen talking to TDP leader Namo Nageshwar Rao.

As the House met for the day, Speaker Meira Kumar made an obituary reference of former member Prabhat Singh Chauhan.  After it was over, members from NDA and some Left parties trooped into the Well.

Most of the BJP members, who refused to heed to Kumar's appeal for normalcy, were heard demanding Singh's resignation.  With Opposition members not relenting, Kumar adjourned the House till noon and then till 2 PM.

It was a similar situation in Rajya Sabha when it assembled for the day as BJP-led NDA members were on their feet shouting slogans demanding Prime Minister's resignation. 

“Istifa do, istifa do, Pradhan Mantri istifa do (Prime Minister resign),” they chanted while Chairman Hamid Ansari told members not to raise slogans and asked senior BJP member M Venkiah Naidu as to what he wanted to speak.  Naidu then said, “we want Prime Minister to go” and not a mere statement on the issue.

Amid slogan shouting, Ansari adjourned the House for 30 minutes. When it reassembled, similar scenes were seen and the House was adjourned till noon.

Later, when it reassembled again at 12 pm, NDA members led by BJP resorted to slogan shouting.

“Pradhanmantri Istifa do (Prime Minister quit)”, they shouted in unison, which was countered by members from the treasury benches who chanted “Pradhanmantri Zindabad”.  As the uproar continued, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, who was in the chair, adjourned the House till 2 PM.

Parliamentary Affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said that BJP members were obstructing proceedings, because they were fighting shy of a debate as some BJP chiefministers were part of the decision to allot the coal blocks.

Bansal said, the government had offered to discuss the CAG report on Friday itself, though the charges made by the BJP were baseless and devoid of truth.

”Their (BJP-ruled states) chief ministers were also part of the decision to allot coal blocks to private parties. If there is a debate, the truth about their chief ministers will come out”, said Bansal.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said, there was no need for a debate.

”What do you require a debate for? This is a case where the Prime Minister himself was the Coal Minister. The CAG report clearly states that coal blocks were allocated to private parties for much lesser prices.

”You (govt) hold up competitive bidding, and knowing that the bidding could start any time, the private parties were in a hurry to get the coal blocks at throwaway prices.

” Why did you not go in for competitive bidding for the last 8 years? Why not even now in 2012”, asked Jaitley.

Jaitley said, if there was proper investigation, more glaring facts will tumble out. “The screening committee was only a recommendatory agency”, he added.

The BJP leader said the Congress party's charge that some BJP chief ministers were also part of the decision to allot coal blocks was “complete rubbish” because coal is a major mineral, and only the Centre was authorised to allocate coal blocks.

”While 24 states in the country supported competitive bidding, states which have coal-bearing mines raised the questions about their share of revenue”, said Jaitley.

”We are not wanting a discussion on the CAG report. Our experience in the 2G scam has been bitter. For the first time in the history of Parliament, the Congress divided the Public Accounts Committee on the 2G scam issue. You did not allow PAC to function independently”, he said.