NEW DELHI: Heated exchanges between the opposition and treasury benches in the Rajya Sabha led to the adjournment of proceedings thrice today, after Leader of the House Arun Jaitley said adjournment notices were being "grossly misused" for publicity and the opposition demanding expunction of these remarks.
Heated arguments followed soon after Deputy Chairman P J Kurien permitted Anand Sharma (Congress) to raise his point under rule 267.
Sharma said the NDA government was making efforts to slight Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and even Indira Gandhi.
As the Chair disallowed Sharma's notice, Jaitley said in every case, "we find that these are not issues under the motion of Rule 267 and therefore it is a practise which is being grossly abused. Therefore, the Chair must also be guided by a principle that you can't have the Zero Hour for the benefit of TV cameras. That is what something which is happening today. ... This has all been enacted".
Jaitley suggested that the remarks made by Sharma should be expunged. He also said if any member wanted to raise the issue of Samjhauta train blast case, it should be allowed.
The Finance Minister said that some other members have given notice in the Zero Hour and the Chair must protect their rights.
He also insisted that references to those who have held high constitutional positions cannot be raised in the House.
Sharma, however, said he had not referred to any high dignity. To this, Jaitley said "we know the spirit of what you are saying."
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government is trying to insult leaders like Gandhi and Nehru who fought for India's independence. "The centenary of those people are being observed who had no connection with the freedom struggle. They are doing 'pick and choose'."
Kurien said all notices under rule 267 were being rejected but it was for the Chair to decide whether a member has to be heard.
Congress members then entered the Well raising slogans, forcing a brief adjournment of the House till noon.
When the House reassembled for Question Hour, the opposition members demanded expunction of Jaitley's remarks that adjournment notices were being "misused" for publicity, by raising strong objections.
As the opposition members remained adamant over their demand for removal of Jaitley's remarks from the records, Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the House for ten minutes.
The House was again adjourned for ten minutes as leaders of several parties discussed the impasse over the issue in the Chairman's chamber.
Ansari later said the records will be examined but no conclusion can be arrived at till this is done. "Let the Chair do its own work."
Azad said he respected the Leader of the House, who normally uses measured language and has never used words which hurt anyone.
"But to say that opposition leaders raise issues for TV channels is not acceptable. We raise issues of the have-nots, that include Dalits, oppressed, downtrodden and the poor and not for the television, which only covers the government," Azad said.
His colleague, Sharma said these words cannot be part of the proceedings. "The entire opposition is being castigated. We cannot allow this sweeping condemnation of the entire opposition."
Earlier, BJP member Subramanian Swamy said he should be allowed to raise a point of order regarding the Samjhauta train blast case.