UPSC storm in Parliament: Confetti thrown at Speaker, walkout by Oppn
Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
New Delhi: The UPSC exam row generated heat in both Houses of Parliament on Friday with a member tearing a paper and throwing it towards the Speaker in Lok Sabha and almost the entire Opposition staging a walkout in the Upper House as Government refused to set a time-line for resolving the issue.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Prakash Javadekar also came under sharp attack in Rajya Sabha from the Opposition, which demanded an apology from him after he allegedly "instigated" members of the treasury benches to protest when the issue was raised.
Opposition members created uproar over the issue in both Houses leading to adjournment of Rajya Sabha thrice before lunch.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, however, assured that the government has taken the ongoing agitation by UPSC aspirants on the issue very seriously and is studying all aspects.
"Government has taken the issue very seriously and is considering every aspect. The report has been given by the Committee on the issue only a day ago. The report is being studied. Government wants this to be resolved as soon as possible," Singh told the Rajya Sabha.
This, however, did not satisfy the agitating members who sought a clear time-frame to be set to resolve the issue and staged a walkout.
In the Lok Sabha, an agitated RJD member Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav stormed the Well waving a newspaper while seeking a statement on the UPSC exam row and later tore the newspaper and threw it in the Well, with some landing on the Speaker`s table.
Later, during his Zero Hour mention, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan chided at him saying his behaviour in the House was not proper, forcing him to apologise, not once but twice.
In the Rajya Sabha when members pointed out that the seven-day time-frame set by the government to come out with a statement on the issue in the House had expired, Minister of State for Personnel Jitender Singh said, "Government has received the report today. It is a sensitive issue. There are different views on it. Give me time to study it."
Admitting that the time sought by the Government has expired, the Minister pointed out that there were holidays in between and Government got only 4-5 days to look into it.
All this happened shortly after the government tabled the report of the Arvind Verma committee, which was constituted to examine and suggest if any changes are required in the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination pattern.
The committee, which submitted its report to the government yesterday, is believed to have recommended the status quo on the issue.
Immediately after obituary reference to Pune landslide victims in Rajya Sabha, Opposition MPs including those from Congress, SP and JD-U were on their feet raising the issue of UPSC examination pattern.
Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said the government had given an assurance that it would resolve the issue, which involves fate of seven lakh students, within seven days, but nothing has been done so far and that is why "I have given a privilege notice".
Pramod Tiwari (Congress) said UPSC aspirants are agitating, but instead of resolving the issue, they were being caned.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu`s effort to pacify the members with an assurance that clarification could be taken up after Question Hour received a loud "No" from the Opposition benches.
Stating that the ongoing issue was an "insult to Indian languages," Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) also demanded that the matter be resolved at the earliest. Some SP members were seen raising the issue from the aisle.
As his repeated requests to maintain order went in vain, Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the House for 15 minutes. Similar scenes were witnessed when the House reassembled and it was soon adjourned till noon.
Civil services aspirants are opposing the pattern of the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) which they believe gives an unfair advantage to English-speaking students while leaving candidates from Hindi or regional languages background at a disadvantage. They want CSAT to be scrapped. The preliminary entrance exam is scheduled for August 24.
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