Opposition united on Mamata bashing, divided on CWG protests

The opposition united to condemn Mamata`s stand on Azad but remained divided on CWG.

New Delhi: The opposition was a study in contrasts in parliament Tuesday, uniting to condemn the government over Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee`s speech questioning the manner of a top Maoist`s death but divided when it came to protesting the preparations for the Commonwealth Games.
The Left and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were in consonance in attacking the government following Banerjee`s speech in Lalgarh in West Bengal Monday where she questioned the killing of Cherukuri Rajkumar, alias Azad, in Andhra Pradesh July 2 and suggested it was a staged shootout.

However, when it came to the Commonwealth Games and Sports Minister M.S. Gill`s statement, the opposition parties staged separate walkouts.

The chorus of protest started in both houses in the morning itself with demands that the issue of Banerjee`s speech be taken up. The BJP demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh intervene in the matter. The Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 12 noon as soon as it met after witnessing noisy exchanges between the treasury and opposition benches.

"A senior minister of the ruling alliance openly calls the killing of Azad wrong and the home minister is accepting it. The prime minister should intervene," BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad told reporters in the Parliament House complex.

"Why is the prime minister quiet on the issue," Prasad asked, adding: "He has been quiet for the whole of this session."

The Mamata bashing served to unite, for once, the BJP and the Left in the Lok Sabha.

When deputy leader of the BJP in Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde tried to raise the issue during question hour, Trinamool Congress MPs vigorously protested, prompting the Left party MPs to support Munde.

There was a heated exchange of words between Munde, who was also supported by his party MPs, and Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay.

Bandyopadhyay charged that the Left and the BJP were in alliance.

However, the situation was just the opposite when the Lok Sabha reassembled after the lunch recess, with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the Left parties, the Samajwadi Party, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the AIADMK separately walking out during Gill`s reply to the debate on the preparations for the Commonwealth Games.

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj led the NDA walkout after expressing her ire over Gill`s remarks that MPs could get more information on the cost of the Games stadia through a Right to Information application.

"The statement is tantamount to demeaning the prestige and dignity of parliament," Swaraj said.

The NDA members then noisily walked out of the Lok Sabha, even as the other opposition MPs stayed put.

Later, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav asked why the government was shying away from the demand by the opposition to constitute a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the Games scam.

Though Gill assured him that "whatever inquiry should be done, that will be done properly" after the Games, an unsatisfied Mulayam Singh led his party MPs in walking out.

Members of the TDP, the AIADMK and the Left parties also pressed for a JPC but Gill did not yield.

These MPs then staged a walkout.


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