NEW DELHI: Congress today forced two adjournments of Rajya Sabha in the pre-lunch session as it took strong exception to some business houses asking Parliament to function and demanded a response from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Lalit Modi and Vyapam issues.
Congress and parties like JD(U) and CPI(M) attacked the government for "using" media and businessmen to hit out at the opposition for disruptions in Parliament.
As government said it was ready for a debate on any issue and accused the opposition of running away from it, the opposition sought a discussion under a rule that entails voting on the lines of Lok Sabha.
Opposition and treasury benches exchanged sharp barbs after Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said the charge that BJP government was "a government for money bags has been vindicated" in the attack on Parliament by "capitalists".
"Today that charge is vindicated," he said adding that Parliament represents 125 crore Indians.
The JD(U) leader was referring to an online signature campaign in which over 15,000 people, including the country's top industrialists, have urged lawmakers to allow Parliament to function, debate and legislate.
Finance Minister and Leader of the House Arun Jaitley retorted, telling Yadav " does the common man want Parliament not to function? ... You are guilty of stalling democracy."
This comment triggered Congress members to rush into the Well shouting slogans against the Government, forcing the first adjournment till noon.
When the House reassembled for Question Hour, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said Yadav has raised a very important issue that involves the prestige of this House, as some industrialists are now trying to "teach us how to run Parliament."
"The MPs are being derided. The ruling party is using media and business houses to attack the opposition," he said, charging the government with terrorising channels who do not tow their line, but "this cannot terrorise MPs."
Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said questions were being raised on the functioning of the House and business houses are telling MPs how to run Parliament.
"They cannot interfere...We also want the House to run," he said, demanding that there be a discussion on the IPL row along with voting, as was being done in Lok Sabha. "Why can't we have it in this House also," he said, demanding a thorough probe into the Lalit Modi controversy involving External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Yadav then got up again to say that government has not recovered non-performing assets from business houses, who are telling MPs how to function.
Chairman Hamid Ansari said no motion that entails voting has been moved and asked them not to raise the demand now.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government was ready for a discussion, but the opposition is running away from it.
"We are ready for a discussion. We are ready to give a befitting reply. They are causing roadblocks in the path of country's progress. The country will not forgive them. They are against the nation's progress," he said, adding that "it is due to the behaviour of the opposition members that the prestige of the House is being affected".
Raising strong objections, Congress members, who were in the Well, resume slogan-shouting and forced another adjournment till 2 PM.
They raised slogans like "punjipatio ke dalalo ki sarkar, nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi (a government of pimps of capitalists will not be tolerated)", "Modi teri tanashahi nahi chalegi (Modi's dictatorship will not be tolerated)" and "Kala dhan ka kya hua (what happaned to blackmoney)". They also shouted and "Rs 15 lakh ka kya hua, kya hua (What happened to Rs 15 lakh promised to each Indian)" in an apparent reference to Modi's election promise of Rs 15 lakh for every citizen by unearthing blackmoney.
Earlier, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, before adjourning the House till noon, said it was unfortunate the way members were behaving. "It is a sad commentary... I hope better wisdom will prevail over you."
Kurien said he has received three notices under rule 267 seeking suspension of list of business to take up discussion on the subjects.
He rejected the notice by Naresh Agarwal (SP) to discuss disrespect and disrepute being brought to Parliament by comments by certain people, saying he had raised the issue in the House yesterday.
He also disallowed T K Rangarajan's notice seeking Prime Minister's response and fixing of responsibility in the Lalitgate and Vyapam scam, saying such a motion was similar to one that had been moved previously and which he had allowed but concerned members did not move it.
Anand Sharma (Cong) said the opposition parties have been from the first day demanding fixing of accountability and taking action and unless Prime Minister has responded, every motion has to be treated as fresh.
Kurien however said he had allowed the motion to be moved but the concerned member did not move the motion. "What is the point" in bringing another motion when no one is willing to move it, he said.
"If Rangarajan is ready to move the motion, I will allow ... I am ready to allow discussion, are you ready to move the motion," he asked.
Tapan Sen (CPI-M) said the Prime Minister must be present in the House to respond to the discussion.
Kurien said a motion cannot be conditional. "You cannot say who should come and reply. I cannot accept conditions."
Referring to charges of involvement of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in helping controversial former IPL head Lalit Modi obtain travel documents, Sharma said if a Cabinet minister is involved, it has to be the Prime Minister who should respond.
Naqvi then said start discussion immediately and "you will get the answers."