New Delhi: Demanding a debate on price rise under a motion that entails voting, the entire opposition on Tuesday prevented functioning of both Houses of Parliament and vowed to press the issue again on Wednesday, setting the stage for another showdown.
Cutting across party lines, the opposition including BJP-led NDA and Left created pandemonium in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha by pressing for Adjournment Motion on price rise issue on the first day of business during the Monsoon Session that began yesterday.
Among other parties pressing the demand were Samajwadi Party, RJD and JD(U).
BSP also wanted suspension of Question Hour to discuss price rise but not under a motion that entails voting as it does not want to be seen "with BJP".
While the government has expressed readiness for a debate on the issue, it is not willing to do so under the rule that provides for voting, arguing that such a discussion has already taken place under Cut Motion in April.
To blunt this argument, the opposition parties are pressing for discussion on increase in prices of kerosene and LPG, which have taken place recently.
The Opposition members created uproar in both the Houses while pressing their demands. In view of the situation, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned, first till 1200 hours and then for the day without transacting any business.
Amid pandemonium, the Lok Sabha was adjourned thrice till 2 PM, when it was adjourned for the day.
BJP and Left parties said they would again press for Adjournment Motion tomorrow, setting stage for another showdown. BJP, in fact, made it clear that it will not allow Parliament to function till its demand was met.
Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said the hike in fuel prices has disturbed the the common man`s budget and the entire opposition was united in demand.
She noted that a number of opposition members have submitted adjournment motions on the issue.
"We want that all work should be suspended and the Adjournment Motion taken up on priority. The entire opposition is united on this," she said.
"Accept our adjournment motions and allow a discussion on the issue," she said pointing out that even some parties supporting the government have made common cause with the opposition.
SP President Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad, whose parties are supporting the Government, stormed the well protesting against price rise.
Govt confident of sailing through
Aware of internal contradictions
in the opposition camp, the government appears confident to
sail through the impasse in Parliament over the issue of
adjournment motion on price rise.
"Even if there is a voting, it will see the opposition
again divided and the ruling alliance comfortably sailing
through like what happened during the cut-motions," a senior
Congress leader, who declined to be identified, claimed.
Reflecting the sentiments, AICC spokesman Shakeel Ahmed
said at the party briefing, "Government is not shying away
from anything. Adjournment motions... ruling of the
Presiding Officers are final".
Speaking to reporters separately, Parliamentary Affairs
Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said, "We are prepared for
discussion on any of the 62 items that the opposition has
listed under the relevant rules".
He, however, indicated that an adjournment motion was not
applicable in the case cited by the opposition.
Another party leader wondered whether Samajwadi Party,
RJD and BSP would vote with the BJP in the event of a
adjournment motion being accepted.
"Adjournment motion is a censure on the government and
cannot be allowed on an issue which is continuous," a
government source said.
He added that they were closely watching the ruling which
the Speaker gives on the adjournment motion as the BJP has
cited only the rise in prices of kerosene and LPG and not
price rise in general.
"The ruling given last year (by the Speaker) could not
apply this year as it is on a specific issue. It was shot down
earlier on the ground that price rise was a continuous issue,"
the sources added.