As it happened in Parliament on Friday...

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduces Constitution Amendment Bill for Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the Lok Sabha.

By Deepak Nagpal | Updated: Dec 19, 2014, 17:09 PM IST
As it happened in Parliament on Friday...

4:20 pm: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduces Constitution Amendment Bill for Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the Lok Sabha.

3:00 pm: GST Bill will not be taken up in the Upper House in the current Parliament session but in Budget session, Jaitley informs Rajya Sabha.

2:45 pm: There is calm in the Rajya Sabha, where Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is speaking on the Goods and Services Tax (GST).  

2:30 pm: Rajya Sabha reconvenes.

12:09: Chairman Hamid Ansari has adjourned the House till 2:30 pm, after failing to convince MPs to let Question Hour run.

12:08 pm: Government sticks to its stand. MoS Parliamentary Affairs MA Naqvi says government will decide who will reply to the debate; Opposition can't dictate to them.

12:04 pm: Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien says the Opposition wants a discussion but will do so only when PM is present in the House. Chairman Ansari says it is government's prerogative as to who replies to the debate.

12:01 pm: Proceedings resume in Rajya Sabha. P Rajeev is asking Chairman Hamid Ansari to allow debate on conversion issue and postpone business on private members' bill.

11:37 am: Amid continuing uproar, the Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 12:00 hrs. Meanwhile, in Lok Sabha proceedings are going on smoothly.

11:30 am: Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress, who was absent from the House for the past several days, is now speaking. He points out that America has said that it is watching developments in India concerning the conversion issue. He reiterates Opposition's demand that PM should reply to the debate on the matter, as he has been promising to the people that he is answerable to them. Azad says the PM has in his remarks earlier promised to protect the interests of all, including their religion. He must now reassure the people of the country that their religious rights will be protected, the Congress leader adds.

11:16 am: Opposition MPs now demand Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu's explanation on his allegations made against Hanumantha Rao. They say Naidu had levelled the allegations at a press conference and that he must come to Parliament to explain now that Hanumantha Rao has refuted the charges.

11:14 am: Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien says the matter is over as the concerned MP was asked to explain in writing and that he has refuted the allegation against him.

11:12 am: Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi seeks Chair's ruling on Hanumantha Rao suspension issue. He says the Chair had promised to review the proceedings and then give ruling.

11:08 am: Congress MP V Hanumantha Rao seeks to clarify that he had not made any objectionable remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, for which he was suspended from the House for a day.

11:00 am: Both Houses of Parliament convene for the day; Rajya Sabha congratulates ISRO for the successful launch of the country's heaviest rocket, the GSLV Mark-III, and the successful test of space crew module.

10:45 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently meeting his top Cabinet ministers inside Parliament complex ahead of today's session. Present at the meeting are Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu.

9:15 am: Logjam likely in Rajya Sabha

Friday is not likely to be any different from the last four days in the Rajya Sabha. With the government not ready to concede to Opposition's demand seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reply to a discussion on the conversion row, it is highly unlikely that any business would be transacted in the Upper House.

PM Modi, who sat in the Rajya Sabha for about 44 minutes yesterday, did not say anything. His ministers made it amply clear that while the government was ready for a discussion on the matter, the reply would be given by the minister concerned, in this case Home Minister Rajnath Singh. But, with a united Opposition sticking to its demand for PM's reply, the debate on the matter could not even be started.

After repeated adjournments, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien was forced to say “I am helpless” and adjourned the House for the day.

When Rajya Sabha reconvenes at 11:00 am today, not much is expected to change unless the government climbs down from its stand in a bid to save the remaining three days of the Winter Session. Several key bills are pending, including the Insurance Bill and the Bill on GST.

For PM Modi, whose main priority is to revive the Indian economy, both bills are crucial. But in the Upper House, the government needs the support of the Opposition to pass bills as it lacks numbers.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, speaking in the Rajya Sabha yesterday, had hit back at the Opposition saying “it was not the arrogance of the government but the arrogance of the numbers (of Opposition)”.

In such a scenario, it is likely that the government may take the Ordinance route on Insurance and GST. And sources too suggest that the government is thinking on the same lines.