Opposition sticks to 'PM in Rajya Sabha' demand; House adjourned for the day

The Deputy Chairman has now adjourned the House for the day amid continuing uproar. The Rajya Sabha will now convene at 11:00 am tomorrow.

Opposition sticks to 'PM in Rajya Sabha' demand; House adjourned for the day

2:40 pm: The Deputy Chairman has now adjourned the House for the day amid continuing uproar. The Rajya Sabha will now convene at 11:00 am tomorrow.

2:38 pm: Amid sloganeering and Opposition MPs trooping into the well, Deputy Chairman Kurien is trying to conduct some business in the House. The Anti-Hijacking Bill 2014 has been introduced.

2:31 pm: Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi says we want the House to function, but adds that both the sides need to listen to each other.

2:28 pm: What is the difficulty for the Prime Minister to come to Rajya Sabha, asks CPI leader D Raja.

Also Read: Demand for PM's reply in Parliament on conversion is legitimate, says Opposition

2:20 pm: Opposition MPs, including Digvijay Singh, are pleading before the Deputy Chairman to revoke the suspension of senior Congress leader V Hanumantha Rao from the House. Earlier in the day, Chairman Hamid Ansari had suspended Rao from the House for one day under Rule 255.

2:12 pm: Amid uproar, Congress leader Digvijay Singh says while the Opposition listens to the Leader of House patiently, Leader and Deputy Leader of Opposition are not being allowed to speak. He also demands that PM should come to Rajya Sabha.

2:08 pm: MoS Parliamentary Affairs MA Naqvi objects to Derek O'Brien's remarks, calling them objectionable. Deputy Chairman Kurien says he will look at the records and expunge the objectionable remarks.

2:07 pm: TMC MP Derek O'Brien again raises the demand for PM Modi to come to Rajya Sabha and make statement on the conversion issue. He asks, “Does the PM need visa to come to Rajya Sabha?”  

2:01 pm: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is making a statement in Rajya Sabha over the recent siege at a cafe in Sydney, Australia, and yesterday's terror attack at a Pakistan school. A similar statement was made in the Lok Sabha, earlier in the day.

Also Read: India adopts resolution condemning barbaric, cowardice terror attack in Pakistan

2:00 pm: Rajya Sabha reconvenes.

12:52 pm: Reports say the Congress and other Opposition parties have moved a Breach of Privilege Motion against the Government in Lok Sabha, alleging the government has misled the House on schools being told to remain open on Christmas to celebrate Good Governance Day.

12:42 pm: Meanwhile, Congress, TMC, NCP and Left MPs walk out of the Lok Sabha accusing the government of misleading the House on schools being told to remain open on Christmas.

12:40 pm: Amid continuing uproar by Opposition MPs demanding that PM speak in the House on conversion row, Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 2:00 pm.

12:30 pm: Everyone will celebrate Christmas, assures Naidu

Speaking on the issue of schools reportedly being asked to remain open on Christmas, Union minister Venkaiah Naidu said in Lok Sabha that the government “respects Christmas” and that “everyone will celebrate Christmas”.

Clarifying the government's order, Naidu said celebrations of good governance on former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee's birthday should be completed before Christmas.

Referring to the conversion row, the minister assured the House that communal peace will be ensured and that Christians will celebrate Christmas. “Some of us will even attend the functions,” he told the Lok Sabha. “It's a sensitive issue; wrong signal should not go to the people,” Naidu cautioned.

12:25 pm: Meanwhile, Lok Sabha has adopted a resolution condemning the "barbaric, cowardice" terror attack on the Army school in Pakistan's Peshawar.

12:22 pm: Chairman Hamid Ansari has adjourned the Rajya Sabha for 15 minutes amid continuing uproar.

12:18 pm: Proceedings resume in Rajya Sabha

12:10 pm: PM needs to speak in Parliament, stresses Anand Sharma

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma has stressed that the government must discuss state of affairs in nation inside Parliament and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to be part of that discussion.

Speaking to ANI, Sharma said, “There is a wide attempt to spread communal tension and towards polarisation. The PM needs to tell us what is being done to stop that. The PM should listen to the Opposition and answer their questions about what his party is doing.”

He added, “It is a reasonable demand in a democracy. The government is being arrogant in rejecting this simple demand. Why is it that our PM who clearly speaks well around the nation cannot come to the Parliament and speak?”

Sharma further alleged that the Leaders of Opposition are being denied opportunity to express themselves. “It is clear that the government doesn't want Parliament to function.”

12:00 noon: Rajya Sabha has been adjourned for the second time today, now till 12:18 pm, amid continuing uproar.

11:28 am: Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 12:00 hrs.

11:27 am: Opposition MPs gather in the Well of the House, raise slogans.

11:25 am: Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien says I cannot give the assurance on PM's reply, as Opposition presses for its demand.

11:20 am: Congress leader Anand Sharma says the leader of government in Rajya Sabha must tell the House whether the Prime Minister will come to the Upper House to make a statement on the religious conversion issue. “If the PM doesn't come to the House, we won't let the Rajya Sabha function,” says Sharma.

11:15 am: Trinamool Congress MPs protest outside Parliament with black clothes wrapped around their mouth. They are protesting over action against TMC leaders in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam.

Also Read: Trinamool MPs protest against alleged misuse of CBI wearing black bands

11:12 am: CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury says they want the deadlock in Rajya Sabha to end.

11:08 am: Arun Jaitley counters the Opposition, says the PM has not announced any policy decision outside Parliament but only made remarks.

11:05 am: Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal demands that PM Modi should reply in Parliament, not at BJP parliamentary board meeting, on the religious re-conversion and other issues, including on controversial remarks made by BJP MPs.

11:00 am: Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday accused the Opposition of blocking the business in Rajya Sabha, saying the entire country is watching.

“The entire country is watching. They are blocking the House, it is totally unacceptable,” Naidu said, adding the people are waiting for the passage of crucial bills. “We are not at fault, we are ready for all kinds of discussions,” the minister said further.

10:45 am: Senior Union ministers met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday to discus the strategy to be adopted in Parliament. Among the ministers who met the PM included Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari.

10:30 am: Govt reaches out to Opposition to end Rajya Sabha deadlock

In a bid to break the deadlock in Rajya Sabha, the government has decided to reach out to the Opposition.

Business has been affected in the Upper House for the past several days over several issues, latest of them being the religious reconversion row.

For the past two days, no business has been transacted in the Rajya Sabha as a combined Opposition created ruckus over the "explosive" and "emotive" issue of conversions and government's move to hold events in schools on Christmas.

Union minister Venkaiah Naidu and MoS Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi will on Wednesday meet Opposition leaders to end the logjam.

Sources said the government would convey its readiness to discuss all issues, including religious conversion and Saradha scam.

As a result of the deadlock in Rajya Sabha, the government has not been able to table the Insurance Bill, a key reform legislation providing for raising FDI cap from 26 percent to 49 percent.

A united Opposition has been wanting no less than Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself to assure the House and the country that action would be taken against acts of religious conversion.