Exception for Drought but Parliament Disruption to Continue
NEW DELHI: With battle lines drawn over the imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand, the Upper House of Parliament is likely to remain disrupted most of this week except for April 27, when a two-hour short duration discussion on the terrible drought situation severely affecting nearly 300 districts is scheduled.
Though senior Congress leader from Rajya Sabha AK Antony said the “decision on tomorrow and rest of session will be taken on a daily basis” at the morning meeting of the party, there’s little doubt that the main opposition is seething over the felling of two of its state governments, first Arunachal Pradesh and now Uttarakhand.
In fact, the Congress is planning a protest march on what it calls ‘“murder of democracy” and “sacking of elected governments” from Parliament to the streets. The party, however, on Monday put in a notice for discussion on the drought situation both in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. “Given the gravity of the situation we do not want to appear unconcerned about the serious plight of the farmers and acute water crisis in 10 states,” a senior Congress leader said, adding but once the “drought discussion is over, it’s going to be disruption - we are making an exception.”Well, April 27 is also the date on which the Supreme Court is going to hear the Uttarakhand case, which means the Congress may wait to see which way the wind is blowing — whether the apex court allows the floor test in the State assembly on April 29 — and then ratchet up the protest.
As for Monday, both Houses saw protests. In the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge staged a dharna inside the House. Even the grand old party chief Sonia Gandhi was seen protesting. In the Rajya Sabha, which did not function, both the Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and his deputy Anand Sharma launched an attack on the Centre with support from CPM’s Sitaram Yechury.
Yechury reminded Leader of the House Arun Jaitley that the ‘sedition charge’ against JNU students had been taken up for discussion despite being sub judice, in an obvious reference to the Uttarakhand case.
Rawal, other BJP MPs break rule
New Delhi: In view of the odd-even rule, most MPs appeared to have made alternative arrangements to reach Parliament and chose not use the special buses provided by the Delhi government. Among those who were found violating the rule were BJP MPs Paresh Rawal, Ashwani Kumar, Chaudhary Babulal, Prahlad Patel, Udit Raj, B C Khanduri, Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya. Rawal was quick to apologise and tweet a receipt for a `2,000 fine.
Judges’ running commentary irks MP
BJP MP Arjun Ram Meghwal made a strong pitch in the Lok Sabha for putting a stop to the “running commentary” by the judiciary against other organs of the State, in a reference to the remarks made by the Uttarakhand High Court against the President over the imposition of central rule. “We see that comments are passed against Parliament, the Speaker and even the President. This should not happen,” he said.