NEW DELHI: Lok Sabha proceedings were virtually washed out for the 15th straight day today, with the Opposition carrying out noisy protests over the demonetisation issue, leading to two adjournments of the House before the Chair called it a day.
Due to the unabated commition, the Lower House could not take up the listed legislative business including consideration and passage of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, the Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill and the Mental Healthcare Bill.
As soon as the House re-assembled in the afternoon after two adjournments since morning, TRS member A P Jitender Reddy was called by the Chair to initiate the debate on demonetisation under Rule 193, which does not entail voting.
When Reddy started reading out his written speech, Opposition members, particularly those from the TMC, came near his seat and indulged in vociferous slogan-shouting, apparently to drown his voice in the din. Large number of Congress and other Opposition parties were also seen raising slogans from the aisles or inside the Well.
"We want discussion and voting on it," the TMC members shouted, indicating that they would allow debate only when it takes place under Rule 184 which entails voting.
As Reddy's speech was not audible due to the loud sloganeering, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the TRS member had every right to speak as "he is an honourable member of the House" and discussion on demonetisation has already begun under Rule 193.
"He (Reddy) is initiating the debate on demonetisation. He has welcomed (PM) Narendra Modi's bold decision. TRS chief and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has also welcomed the demonetisation," Kumar said.
As the chaos continued, Karnataka BJP MP Pralhad Joshi who was in the Chair adjourned the House for the day.
Earlier when the proceedings commenced at 1100 hours, the Opposition insisted on their demand for a discussion on demonetisation under Rule 184
Members of the Congress, TMC and the Left parties soon entered the Well, raising slogans and demanding voting after a debate on the demonetisation issue.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the House at that time as questions for the PMO were listed to be taken up during Question Hour. However, he left the House shortly thereafter.
Rejecting the Opposition demand, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kumar said voting had already taken place and it has gone in favour of the Prime Minister.
When Kumar said Modi has got the highest votes in the 'Time' magazine opinion poll and the voting has already taken place, Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge objected to it.
The Minister was referring to the results of the opinion poll carried out by prominent American magazine Time, in which Modi got the highest votes for 2016 Person of the Year.
Reacting to Kharge's objection, Kumar said "it is beyond my understanding why the Congress, the Trinamool Congress and Left parties are opposing the discussion under Rule 193."
Kumar's remarks were met with vociferous slogans by the Opposition members who demanded a debate under rule 184 which entails voting after the discussion. With slogan shouting continuing unabated, the House was adjourned till noon.
Similar scenes continued when the House met again at noon. However, the Speaker directed the laying of papers and allowed members to raise issues of importance.
Congress and TMC members stormed the Well chanting slogans against the government and seeking a discussions under Rule 184. They also sought to know where the blackmoney had disappeared and wanted the government to unearth it.
In the melee, the Speaker took up the Zero Hour by asking members to raise issues of urgent public importance. But as the din continued, she adjourned the House till 1400 hours.