Opposition continues to stall parliament

Parliament remained paralysed today as the Bharatiya Janata Party, the main opposition, continued to disrupt normal functioning with uncouthly-expressed demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with at least two of his ministers over various 'scams'.

Apart from the usual demand for the resignation of the prime minister and law minister Ashwini Kumar in connection with issues related to coal block allocations, the opposition has now found reason to seek the ouster of railway minister P K Bansal as well.

It became apparent last week that Bansal's nephew V Singla has amassed huge wealth since Bansal became a minister in the union government.

According to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Singla accepted an up-front bribe of as much as Rs92 lakh to get a Railway Board official promoted to an even more lucrative assignment – and this amount was just for starters.

The Congress party, which leads the United Progressive Alliance government and to which both Bansal and Ashwini Kumar belong, has already made it clear that neither of the ministers will be removed from their post unless their guilt is officially established.

Parliament has been prevented from functioning, mainly by the BJP, since the second phase of the summer Budget session started on 22 April.

Among other protests, members of the Punjab-based Akali Dal also vociferously raised the issue of the acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, accused of complicity in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. They demanded the setting up of a Supreme Court-monitored special investigation team (SIT) to re-investigate allegations against him.

At the same time, Samajwadi Party members in the Lok Sabha demanded the immediate implementation of the Sachar Committee recommendations for the welfare of Muslims in the country.