Parliament adjourned amid ruckus on first day of winter session
05 February 2014
In a development that has long stopped surprising Indian taxpayers, both houses of parliament were rendered dysfunctional on the first day of the winter session today by various parties staging protests inside the Houses. This time the main bone of contention was the carving-out of a separate Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh.
The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day after the ruckus continued after a break. The Rajya Sabha was scheduled to reconvene in the afternoon after being adjourned due to disruptions.
While members of the lower house also talked about the mob lynching of Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Taniam in Delhi, in the upper house the Bharatiya Janata Party raised the AgustaWestland helicopter deal apart from the Telangana issue.
Earlier, members from the Seemandhra region of Andhra Pradesh, cutting across party lines, stormed the well of both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha as soon as they assembled, protesting against the union government's decision to create a separate state. They carried placards saying Jai Samaikya Andhra Pradesh (hail nnited Andhra Pradesh).
In the Lok Sabha, some members mentioned the death of a student from Arunachal Pradesh in Delhi with Left MPs demanding action against the culprits. They carried posters which said "Stop racial discrimination against northeastern people".
Shiromani Akali Dal members utilised the occasion to target Congress on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in the wake of renewed controversy on the issue after a television interview by the party's vice-president Rahul Gandhi. They wanted day-to-day trial of pending cases against Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler.
Speaker Meira Kumar repeatedly appealed to members to maintain decorum and allow smooth conduct of House proceedings. She reminded them that this was the last session of Lok Sabha before the general elections, due in a few months.
"This is the last session [of the 15th Lok Sabha]. What are you doing? Please take your seats," she tried to say, but was of course unheeded. Thereupon, she had little choice but to adjourned the House.
Similar scenes were witnessed in Rajya Sabha after chairman Hamid Ansari called the question hour, forcing him to adjourn the House. Opposition members were on their feet on a series of issues including the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Telangana and death of a youth from Arunachal Pradesh in the national capital.
Meanwhile, MPs of the Punjab-based Akali Dal protested outside Parliament over Operation Bluestar, where a degree of British involvement has been revealed by the UK government. (See: UK expert's advice ignored in '84 Golden Temple assault: Hague)
At the same time, anti-Telangana and pro-Telangana supporters clashed outside Andhra Bhawan in Delhi, close to the Houses of Parliament.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reiterated his appeal early today requesting parties to let parliament function. "I sincerely hope that Parliament, in its wisdom, will transact the essential business which is its primary concern. There is important legislation which is pending for approval by Parliament," he said in an online tweet.
The Telangana Bill is scheduled to be introduced in this session of parliament.