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Rajya Sabha proceedings disrupted by Opposition protests

Tuesday, Jul 18, 2017,16:14 IST By anju A A A

New Delhi | The proceedings in the Rajya Sabha were disrupted today by an angry opposition which sought to raise several issues like the violence against Dalits and minorities, to attack the government, as an angry BSP chief Mayawati also threatened to quit the House.

The noisy protests by the opposition members, many of whom trooped into the Well raising slogans, forced adjournment of the proceedings, once till noon, then till 2 PM and again till 3 PM.

Soon after the House assembled for the day, a visibly angry Mayawati, who was speaking on the recent anti-Dalit violence in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh, threatened to resign from the House after the Chair asked her to restrict her impromptu speech.

“I will resign from Rajya Sabha today,” Mayawati shot back when Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked her to wrap up her speech as she had exceeded the three minutes given to her to make her submission.

Mayawati, whose term in the Upper House is till April next year, argued with Kurien saying how can she be prevented from raising the issue about her ‘samaj’ (community) and the Dalits. “I have not finished. You cannot do this.”

“I have no moral right to be in the House if I am not allowed to put across my views on atrocities being committed against Dalits,” she said.

Kurien asked her not to make a full-fledged speech and told her she could seek a discussion after giving a notice under rule 267 that seeks adjournment of proceedings to take up an issue.

A discussion can begin only after the Chair, on the advise of the government, accepts the notice and agrees for a discussion.

Kurien rose from his seat in an attempt to calm her down but Mayawati refused to agree saying she has no right to be in the House if she cannot protect the rights of her community.

“I am going to resign from the house,” she said and walked out of the House in a huff.

Her party colleagues led by Satish Mishra followed her but were back in the House soon to raise slogans against the alleged anti-Dalit policies of the government.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Mayawati was challeging the Chair. “She should apologise. She has threatened the Chair,” he said.

BSP members immediately rushed into the Well shouting “Dalit virodhi yeh sarkar nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi” (anti-dalit government will not be tolerated).

Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad briefly prevailed over them to allow him to make his submission.

Azad said the government at an all-party meeting before the start of the Monsoon Session had agreed to discuss any issue that the opposition wants to raise in the house.

“Promise was made to us in the presence of the Prime Minister. You are going against that,” he said.

He said the Opposition led by Congress has given notices to discuss crisis facing farmers, anti-Dalit violence and lynching of minorities.

Responding to the barbs of the treasury benches to respect the people’s mandate, Azad said the government has got a mandate to protect the Dalits and minorities and for development.

“You didnt get a mandate to massacre minorities and Dalits,” he said adding the Congress was staging a walkout of the House in protest. Congress members then walked out of the House.

Soon thereafter, BSP members were back in the Well shouting anti-government slogans.

Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said the government policies were pushing farmers to suicide.

Naqvi said the government was ready for discussion on any issue and the opposition should give a notice.

Kurien said the government was agreeing to having a discussion, so the opposition members should return to their seats and start it.

“Shouting slogan is no soluition. We can discuss. The Chair is ready to allow discussion on all subjects. Let us start,” he said. But the opposition members remained unrelenting, forcing him to adjourn the proceedings till 1200 hours.

Earlier, Mayawati while elaborating on the incidents in Saharanpur, said the Dalits had agreed to the district administration’s order not to take out any procession or install a statue of Bhim Rao Ambedkar on April 14. But the followers of Maharana Pratap however took out a procession on May 5, she said.

Before she could complete, Kurien asked her to sit and called the next speaker, saying “you cannot monopolise”, angering Mayawati.

No sooner that the House reassembled at noon, slogan shouting Congress members trooped into the Well. They were followed by the members of Trinamool Congress and others.

The protesting opposition members shouted slogans like “Dalit virodhi yeh sarkar nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi” (anti- dalit government will not be tolerated).

Amid slogan shouting by members of Congress and other parties, Chairman Hamid Ansari called for taking up the Question Hour.

TMC member Derek O’Brien tried to speak but could not be heard amidst the noisy scenes.

Some members of the AIADMK too rushed into the Well as other opposition party members were on their feet.

The continued sloganeering forced the Chairman to adjourn the House till 1400 hrs.

When the House reassembled at 1400 hrs, TMC member Derek O’Brien said that several opposition members had given notices on issues related to farmers and the lynchings that have taken place across the country.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government was ready for a discussion which could be held immediately.
Naresh Agarwal of the Samajwadi Party said that the number of sittings or the House were getting reduced.

However, several opposition members then trooped into the Well of the House and raised anti-government slogans.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurian suggested to the protesting members which included Kumari Selja, Shamsher Singh Dullo and several other Congress leaders that a discussion could be held on their issues. However, the opposition members continued their protests.

Union Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot said the government had taken a number of steps for the benefit of the weaker sections. He said the opposition was running away from a debate as they did not have issue.

However, the din continued and Kurien adjourned the House till 15:00 Hrs.

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