Opposition parties led by Congress on Thursday persisted with their demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should reply to a discussion on communal flare-up in the country, forcing adjournment of Rajya Sabha till noon.
For the fourth day in succession, Congress and other opposition parties demanded presence of the Prime Minister in the House and his reply to the debate on the issue, stalling proceedings, which government said displayed “arrogance of numbers.”
Opposition members, however, persisted with their demand that proceedings be suspended and taking up the debate. The treasury benches however opposed this. With the stalemate continuing, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien adjourned the House till noon.
Anand Sharma (Cong) said by rejecting the Opposition demand, “the Government is being arrogant.” He said Opposition parties want the House to run but for that Prime Minister should come and reply to the debate.
Finance Minister and Leader of the House Arun Jaitley said Prime Minister coming to the House and making a statement disapproving of a comment by a Union minister should have had a sobering effect.
He said the other House, Lok Sabha was functioning normally and it was only Rajya Sabha which was being disrupted.
This, he said, reflected that “it is arrogance of numbers and not the arrogance of the government.”
The ruling NDA, which has a commanding majority in Lok Sabha, is in minority in the Upper House. Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said Lok Sabha was functioning because of “tyranny of majority”.
Sharma said Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had made a statement yesterday that his party colleague V Hanumantha Rao had used high abusive and objectionable language against the Prime Minister while protesting in the Well.
“He did not say anything against the Prime Minister,” he said, adding the Chair can go through the records. Rao, he said, was only protesting against heckling by the treasury benches.
“Check the proceedings,” he told Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, who said he will examine it. Digvijaya Singh (Cong) said Rao had not made any disparaging remark against the Prime Minister.
“I will have to go through record and come back to you,” Kurien said asking members to allow zero hour submissions.
Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) said let Prime Minister come and listen to the debate and reply to it.
Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said the opposition wants peace in the House and outside.
“Why Prime Minister made it a prestige issue of not coming to the House (and replying),” he said.
Earlier, Pramod Tiwari (Cong) equated wanted terrorist Hafeez Saeed and his threat to take revenge against India with people carrying out forced religious conversions. His remarks drew sharp reaction from treasury benches with Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad saying this statement was irresponsible.
Despite Kurien’s repeated requests for Zero Hour to be taken up, the Opposition members continued to press with their demand, forcing him to adjourn the House till noon.