Price rise: LS Speaker rules out voting, Oppn to fight on

LS Speaker Meira Kumar rejected the Adjournment Motion on price rise.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Parliament remained disrupted for
the second day on Wednesday on the issue of prices with Lok Sabha
Speaker Meira Kumar rejecting the demand for adjournement
motion on the issue and more trouble appeared in store as the
BJP vowed to be "more aggressive" in demanding a vote.

The Speaker said price rise is a matter of concern and may be discussed in any form other than the Adjournment Motion.

"An adjournment motion is admitted on the failure of the government to perform its duty enjoined by the Constitution and the law…that is the not the case here," Meira Kumar said.

"I have heard them (the opposition MPs). I appreciate the concerns of honourable members. It is a matter of concern to the Chair also… the House certainly needs to debate it but adjournment motion is not permissible," she added.

The announcement led to pandemonium in the House, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the Lok Sabha for the day. The Upper House, Rajya Sabha too has been adjourned for the day over the same issue.
Kumar had earlier allowed MPs to debate on whether the House should allow the adjournment notices, which entail voting, moved by opposition members over the rising prices of essential commodities. An Adjournment Motion is seen as an instrument of censure against the government`s policies.

During the debate, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee intervened and said that the UPA government was ready for a discussion on price rise, but ruled out holding the same under adjournment motion.

The minister attacked the opposition for stalling proceedings of Parliament, saying it was deliberately trying to derail the Monsoon Session. The opposition is making a huge song and dance about nothing, he added.

Unless the Central government "fails to discharge its duties enjoined by the Constitution of the law", the matter could not be discussed under the Adjournment Motion, Mukherjee said.

He said the decision-makers were not taking any "sadistic pleasure" from hiking fuel prices. "There are certain compulsions. I had certain compulsions. Rates of crude oil in the international market have gone up. There has not been any failure of the government."

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj was the first to justify her notice saying "it was cent percent according to the House rules".

"The Adjournment Motion that entails voting means stopping all other businesses, and discuss an issue of urgent importance that has occurred recently. The notice I have given has raised has two points. Recent hikes in (the prices of) kerosene and the cooking gas," Swaraj said.

The June 26 price hike has poor men of the country into "grave hardships", she said. "This is recent and needs urgent attention and calls for stalling all other business to be discussed on top priority."

She said the opposition wants to "censure" the government over its wrong pricing policies. "We don`t want talk out. We want a debate followed by the voting. Adjournment Motion signifies the importance of the issue… This is a censure motion. This is to censure the government. The government won`t fall. But we definitely want to censure this government because they are troubling the common man."

She said the opposition was united in the sentiment

"You have to decide on allowing the adjournment motion and I request you to please give us a chance to," the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said.

Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh said the opposition was "expressing the sentiments of the people as 85-90 percent of the population are suffering due to rising prices ".

"People are dying due to starvation," he said, supporting the adjournment motion.

Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) said the opposition didn`t want the government to fall. "We want to stop rising prices. We want to jolt the government out of a slumber."

The Speaker, after listening to the viewpoints of the opposition and the government, had adjourned the House till 2.00 pm.

On the other hand, the issue of spiralling food prices forced two adjournments of the Rajya Sabha today, the second one for the day, with an angry opposition demanding a discussion on the issue under an Adjournment Motion that entails voting.

The House saw vociferous protests from the entire opposition as soon as it assembled at 11.00 am, with some members of the ruling party countering that Question Hour proceed on schedule. In the midst of the din, Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the house till 12.00 noon.

As soon as the house reassembled, chants of "168" - the rule under which the opposition wants to move an Adjournment Motion - were heard.

Amidst the din, Deputy Chairman K Rahaman Khan called for papers to be laid on the table before adjourning the House for the day.