The Opposition stalled the Rajya Sabha proceedings for the second consecutive day today as its demand for an immediate discussion on the steep increases in fuel prices was rejected.
Even the Lok Sabha proceedings were repeatedly adjourned Tuesday amid din created by opposition over rising fuel prices and the House failed to transact any legislative business for the second consecutive day.
Meanwhile in the upper house could not transact any substantial business as it first witnessed an adjournment at around 11.20 a.m. till noon and another one till 2 pm. Deputy chairman Harivansh repeatedly assured the House that the subject could be discussed during debates on the Appropriation Bill and other Budgetary proposals, as already stated by chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.
He said he had no powers to “re-open” the issue once a ruling was given on it by the Chairman. As the Opposition persisted with its demand, and members entered the well of the House, the deputy chairman adjourned the House for the day, after adjourning twice earlier.
Within 15 minutes of the resumption of the House proceedings at its normal time 11 am, the deputy chairman announced that there were four notices for an immediate discussion on the petrol and diesel price hikes from Satish Chandra Misra (BSP), leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress), Tiruchi Siva (DMK) and Priyanka Chaturvedi (Shiv Sena).
Since the chairman had rejected the discussion yesterday in his ruling, the issue could not be “re-opened.” Turning down the Opposition’s requests, Harivansh said the members would get plenty of opportunity to discuss the issue, and asked them not to come to the well of the House.
The deputy chairman tried to proceed amidst slogan shouting, but adjourned the House at 11.25 am till 12 noon. As the Question Hour was taken up at noon, the Opposition was on its feet again, forcing another adjournment till 2 pm.
At 2 pm, Harivansh wanted to take up the Arbitration and Conciliation Amendment Bill, which was to replace an Ordinance. Kharge said the fuel price-hike across the board had made essential items dearer, affecting the life of the poor.
When the deputy chairman said the chairman had rejected the members’ demand, and it was important to take up the Bill as it was replacing an Ordinance, and time was running out. He said he would convey the Opposition’s sentiments to the chairman.
Kharge said “we are not stopping the Bill from being passed. The Government should hear us and withdraw the price hikes and restore the old prices.”
The Leader of the Opposition said the chairman had given his ruling yesterday and today, the deputy chairman was being requested, and he was competent to take a decision.
When Vivek Tankha (Congress) called by the Chair did not speak, Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad requested the House to discuss the Bill, and said he was willing to speak only at the end of the discussion.
As Mahesh Poddar (BJP) started speaking on the Bill, Anand Sharma (Congress) protested that how could the House move to the next business when an issue before it was yet to be resolved. The House was then adjourned for the day.