Rajya Sabha proceedings washed out for third day

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New Delhi: Proceedings in Rajya Sabha were washed out for the third consecutive day on Wednesday as opposition continued to press for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s response to concerns over conversions and protested suspension of a Congress member for the day.

The only business that could be transacted amid din was introduction of the Anti-Hijacking (Amendment) Bill 2014 and withdrawal of a similar Bill. The Insurance Bill, a key reform legislation providing for raising FDI cap from 26 percent to 49 percent, could not be taken up again.

The House remained deadlocked with the Opposition unitedly voicing concern over reports of conversion and wanted no less than the Prime Minister himself to assure the House and the country that such things would not be allowed.

Amid slogan-shouting, members from Congress, Trinamool and Left questioned why the government was not agreeing and asserted that the House will not be allowed to function till the demand is met.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said he could not direct the government to ensure the presence of the Prime Minister. He kept pleading that the discussion could start and Home Minister Rajnath Singh would reply to it.

“It is for the Prime Minister to decide whether to come or not. How can I say,” he said. However, his pleas went unheeded and opposition members repeatedly trooped into the Well.

Amid ruckus, Chairman Hamid Ansari asked Congress member Hanumantha Rao to withdraw from the House invoking Rule 255. He along with other opposition members was raising slogans in the Well despite warnings by the Chair.

In the post-lunch session, Congress and SP wanted the “harsh” order against Rao to be withdrawn but Kurien said the decision of the Chairman was final. This led to more protests.

The uproar led to four adjournments before the final call at around 2.40 PM.

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