Parliament adjourned sine die; key bills remain pending
08 May 2013
Parliament's budget session was abruptly adjourned sine die this morning almost three days ahead of schedule, as the main opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party, showed no sign of allowing the houses to function.
Some linked the closure of parliament till the monsoon session to the Congress party's victory in the Karnataka state elections; but it also seems likely that both Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar and Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari decided that there was no point continuing a dysfunctional sitting.
The opposition, orchestrated by the BJP, has not allowed parliament to function for the last three weeks, ever since it reconvened to continue the budget session after a short break.
This morning, like most mornings since the Houses reconvened two weeks ago after a recess, the BJP disrupted proceedings continuing its demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and two of his cabinet colleagues, law minister Ashwani Kumar and railway minister Pawan Bansal, over different scandals.
The abrupt end to the parliament session means that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government has been unable to pass two of its most important bills - the food security bill and the land acquisition bill.
Perhaps there was an inkling of the development on Tuesday, when foreign minister Salman Khurshid attempted to get a bill through to clear an agreement between Bangladesh and India to exchange territories, with India ceding a strip along the border with Assam.
Members of the Asom Gana Parishad promptly stormed the well and sought to snatch the bill from the minister's hand, whereupon he sat down without completing the introduction process.
The BJP has earlier agreed with the provisions of the food security bill. Today however it said it would help pass the food security bill, which the Congress tabled in the Lok Sabha amid chaos on Monday, provided the two ministers, Kumar and Bansal, resign. No deal, said the government.
As the ruling UPA made strong efforts to get Houses to function, agriculture minister Pawar of Maharashtra-based Nationalist Congress Party played mediator, talking to the Left parties and the BJP.
On Tuesday, Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was seen walking with her arm around the shoulder of BJP parliamentary Sushma Swaraj inside the house premises.
Another messy morning
When the houses convened today, it was yet another bedlam as BJP members rushed to the wells of both houses demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister.
An angry Meira Kumar lashed out as she noticed some MPs walking out of the House while the patriotic anthem Vande Mataram was being sung. "I have taken a serious note of this and I need to know why. This should not ever be repeated again," she said.
At the same time members of the Shiv Sena, Akali Dal, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party trooped into the wells of both houses, raising slogans on issues ranging from corruption to alleged atrocities against Dalits in Uttar Pradesh.