NEW DELHI: The fighting in Gaza strip found its echo today in Rajya Sabha which witnessed an uproar over the issue as the government refused to have any discussion on it saying it could impact diplomatic ties with both Israel and Palestine.
The uproar over the issue led to two adjournments in the pre-lunch session with opposition and the government locking horns over whether to have a debate or not.
Almost entire opposition was on its feet when the Zero Hour started and Deputy Chairman P J Kurien called Ali Anwar Ansari (JD-U) for Zero Hour mention, saying it was listed in the business.
Refusing to agree to a discussion, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, "We have diplomatic ties with both nations. Any discourteous reference to any friendly country can impact our relations with them."
She said she came to know about the list of business this morning and has come to the House out of respect for the Chairman who had listed it in the business but no consultation was done with her.
"I have written a letter to the Chairman as it was neither admissible under rules nor desirable. Let us wait for the decision of the Chairman. I will abide by that," she said.
She said that in the letter she has mentioned no discussion should take place and the matter is pending so the House should wait for the directions from him.
This led to angry protests by the opposition members, who said the list of business was the property of the House and would tantamount to disrespect of the House.
Amid the din, Kurien adjourned the House for 15 minutes.
Similar protests were lodged by members as soon as the House re-assembled with Satyavrat Chaturvedi (Cong) saying list of business cannot be changed as it is the property of the House.
If there cannot be a discussion on Gaza issue, how can the House hold a discussion on rail budget, he asked.
Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said country's prestige will be at stake if the House does not hold a discussion on the matter and it will send a very wrong message.
Kurien, however, said both the sides will have to agree for the discussion and he has verified that a letter has been sent by the External Affairs Minister to the Chairman, which is still under consideration.
Citing rules, Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said once the issue has been listed in business, even the Chair does not have the authority to change it.
D Raja (CPI) said till the House takes a decision on the issue, it cannot be in order and India cannot remain silent on destruction in West Asia.
P Rajeev (CPI-M) said no discussion on the issue as "an attempt to dilute the dignity of the House and the Chair."
After hearing both the sides, Kurien said, "I have heard those who spoke quoting rules...I heard the government. I reserve the ruling...I need time.
He then adjourned the House till 2 PM.